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In return from broken arm, Pierceson Coody wins big as Texas breaks record

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AUGUSTA, Ga. – Pierceson Coody couldn’t have scripted a better return.

Four months ago, the Texas senior sustained a fractured radial head in his right arm after crashing into a lightly padded concrete wall during a freak relay-race accident (his twin brother, Parker, suffered the same injury). On Sunday at Forest Hills Golf Club, Pierceson helped the Longhorns break a school record while posting a dominant individual victory at the Augusta Haskins Award Invitational.

“I completely surprised myself,” said Pierceson, who shot 17 under and won by six shots as Texas posted 50 under, 26 shots better than runner-up Oklahoma State and five shots clear of the previous school record for 54 holes, surpassing the 45-under mark set at the 2016 NCAA Nashville Regional.

“I was 13 under on the front nine and that was a complete shock. I guess when you start off the way I did in every round, why slow down?”

Pierceson went 67-66-66 and didn’t make a bogey in the final round despite still not feeling 100%. He says the arm still gets sore, especially after Saturday’s 36-hole day, and he remains about a club shorter through the bag.

“I can’t hit it as hard as I want to … but getting healthier every day, and come May, I should be very close to 100% again,” Pierceson said. “I’ve been joking with the guys: short and straight. I wish it was straighter, but whatever’s working right now, me and the putter are on good terms, so just ride with the momentum.”

After starting the spring with back-to-back finishes of eighth or worse without both Coodys in the lineup, Texas has caught similar momentum. With Parker returning in Las Vegas, the Longhorns placed third, and then second at the N.I.T., where Oklahoma State clipped them by 21 shots.

At Forest Hills, Texas placed every player in the top 13th, including four in the top 9: Travis Vick (fifth), Mason Nome (T-6) and Parker (T-9). With just one tournament remaining before the Big 12 Championship – the Western Intercollegiate, which begins a week from Monday – the now-heathy Longhorns are suddenly in the conversation for NCAA favorite.

“I knew we would play well,” Pierceson said, “and I know we’ll continue to play well.”

While no one could’ve envisioned this dominant of a performance so soon, Texas coach John Fields had been seeing strides from his team for several weeks. Especially Pierceson, whom Fields calls, along with Parker, the hardest working players he's ever been around – even harder than Fields' former college roommates and teammates, Curt and Tom Byrum.

“He obviously has been preparing and doing everything right and doing everything that our trainers and doctors have told him to do, he and didn’t miss one step,” Fields said. “And we took time, too, and didn’t rush him to come back.”

Pierceson traveled with the team to Arizona prior to the N.I.T. and though he didn’t compete in that event, he did play 36 holes at Grayhawk. Fields called the golf he showcased there “significant.” When the Longhorns returned to Austin, Pierceson stayed hot, winning the team’s 36-hole qualifier.

“He definitely showed us that he was ready to play,” Fields said, “and this week he validated it.”