TULSA, Okla. -- The No. 3 University of Texas men's golf team fired a final-round score of 17-over-par 297 on Tuesday to post a four-stroke victory at the seventh annual Big 12 Conference Championship at Southern Hills Country Club (par 70; 7,016 yards). The Longhorns (296-301-297=894) trailed Oklahoma by two strokes entering Tuesday's final round, but made up seven strokes on the Sooners to capture their second straight Big 12 team title. No. 8 Oklahoma State (303-294-301=898) placed second, while Oklahoma (302-293-304=899) finished third.
The victory marked the 41st overall conference crown for Texas (39 in the Southwest Conference, two in the Big 12). Ironically, the Horns overcame a 10-stroke deficit to the Sooners in last year's final round en route to winning their first Big 12 crown. The win also marked the first team victory of the 2002-03 campaign for Texas.
'Our guys did a great job of playing well down the stretch today,' said sixth-year Texas head coach John Fields. 'It took an absolute team effort to earn this championship. The way Rusty Kennedy battled back today after two tough rounds of golf yesterday really speaks to the determination of all our guys. Winning a Big 12 title on this course is very special, as Southern Hills has everything you could want in a golf course.'
Junior Jason Hartwick (Sacramento, Calif.) paced the Longhorns by firing a final-round three-over-par 73 to finish in second place in the individual standings at 11-over-par 221 (73-75-73). Oklahoma State's Hunter Mahan earned individual medalist honors with a 54-hole total of two-under-par 208 (73-67-68).
Senior J.J. Wall (San Antonio, Texas) shot a three-over-par 73 to tie for third place at 13-over-par 223 (70-80-73), while freshman Matthew Rosenfeld (Plano, Texas) recorded a seven-over-par 77 finish in a tie for seventh at 15-over-par 225 (74-74-77). Senior Russell Surber (Flintridge, Calif.) registered a six-over-par 76 to tie for 14th place at 19-over-par 229 (79-74-76), while junior Rusty Kennedy (Phoenix, Ariz.) rounded out the Texas scores with a five-over-par 75 to tie for 47th at 31-over-par 241 (88-78-75).
Texas returns to action on May 15-17 (Thursday-Saturday) at the NCAA Regional Championship. The Longhorns will travel to one of the three regional sites (East at Auburn, Ala.; Central at Manhattan, Kan.; West at Auburn, Wash.) for the right to qualify for the NCAA Championship, slated for May 27-30 at Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla.
The UT Tower will be lit on Wednesday, April 30 in honor of the Big 12 Championship. The team and coaching staff will gather for a photo opportunity at 9 p.m. in front of the fountain at the corner of 23rd and San Jacinto.