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Texas on the ropes at NCAAs after star subs out with illness

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Pierceson Coody couldn’t get through his warmup. He barely could pick up a range ball. His breakfast went basically untouched, too.

Eventually, the Texas junior standout came to the heart-wrenching conclusion that he wasn’t going to be able to compete in Saturday’s second round of the NCAA Championship.

“I can’t go,” Coody told Longhorns head coach John Fields, tears in his eyes.

Texas had already gotten off to a rough start, shooting 14 over on Friday at Grayhawk Golf Club. Coody (7-over 79) and star teammate Cole Hammer (77) each carded three double bogeys in that opening round. Now, the Longhorns would have to battle back without their No. 1 player.

Senior Hunter Ostrom stepped in at the last minute to shoot 72, Travis Vick added a 70 to remain at 2 under for the tournament and Texas as a team was four shots better on Saturday. However, at 24 over, the Longhorns have a monumental task ahead just to make Sunday’s 54-hole cut.

Texas was 15 shots off of that pace when it ended play early Saturday afternoon. Fields said that his team will need to be within 10 shots entering the third round to have a shot at playing Monday.

“Obviously, we aren’t hitting on all cylinders,” Fields said. “As a coach, you try to get here and have that happen. We’ve had that happened many times, but for whatever reason, it’s just a couple of different wild circumstances that have put us in a position where we have to have a great round tomorrow.

“It’s amazing when a team has their one guy go down, it’s very unusual to be able to overcome that, but we’re going to have to try.”

Coody woke up in the middle of the night before Saturday’s round experiencing a fever, body aches and chills. However, tests came back negative for multiple illnesses, including COVID-19 (Coody has had both vaccine doses). The mysterious is not believed to be related to the norovirus that he suffered from during the Walker Cup earlier this month.

Fields said after his team finished its second round that Coody, who rested at the hotel for much of the day, remains questionable to return to the lineup Sunday.