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Longhorns won't defend NCAAs, but not going away

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MILTON, Ga. – Texas won’t go back-to-back this year.

The defending NCAA champions lost to Illinois, 3-2, in the quarterfinals Friday at Capital City Club’s Crabapple Course.

“We felt like we played pretty good golf,” Texas coach John Fields said, “and they just played better.”

The Longhorns won last year’s title at Riviera largely because of the superb play of Jordan Spieth and Dylan Fritteli. Spieth turned pro last December, while Frittelli is playing overseas after graduating.

“Some people thought we were maybe dead when Jordan turned pro, but the truth is we weren’t,” Fields said. “We still came here with a chance to win. I’m really proud of our guys.”

The Longhorns surprised many by heading into nationals as the No. 4-ranked team in the country on the strength of five victories, including the Big 12 title.

Much of that can be attributed to Brandon Stone, who won three events, was named the Phil Mickelson Award winner as the nation’s top freshman, and defeated 2012 NCAA champion Thomas Pieters in his quarterfinal match Friday.

Help is on the way, too. Prized recruit Beau Hossler, who enrolled at Texas in the spring but did not play, is expected to tee it up for the Longhorns in the fall, as well as Gavin Hall, who transferred from UCLA.

“I just love what’s shaping up,” Fields said. “Dealing with success is very difficult. You can look at teams that won the national championship, and but for very few they seem to go some place else for a while. That’s not what we want to do here.”

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