HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Oklahoma State’s men’s golf team finished as the runner-up at the NCAA Championship after falling in the title match to Alabama, 4-1, on Wednesday at Prairie Dunes Country Club.
The national title was the second in a row for Alabama, while Oklahoma State finished as the event’s runner-up for the 17th time in program history. The Cowboys have now finished first or second at the event 27 times in 67 appearances.
“Obviously, we got to the match we wanted and didn’t get the result that we wanted,” OSU head coach Alan Bratton said. “We have tons of positive experiences to draw on from the whole week and from the season.”
“We are going to lose two big parts of our team. Talor (Gooch) and Ian (Davis) are seniors, but they can leave here proud of their careers at Oklahoma State. We have a great nucleus coming back, so I am excited about the future."
In the first match of the day, Bobby Wyatt knocked off Gooch, 3 and 2. Gooch won the first before Wyatt squared the match at the second with a hole-in-one. Wyatt took his first lead of the day at the third and extended to a 2-up advantage at the seventh. Gooch trimmed the margin in half with a win at the 11th, but Wyatt answered with wins at the 13th and 16th to secure the team point.
OSU freshman Zachary Olsen grabbed his first lead of the day against fellow freshman Robby Shelton at the third before moving to 2-up with a win at the fifth. Shelton moved the match back to all square at the eight before Olsen won two of the next three to regain his advantage. However, Shelton won three of the next four holes to take his first lead of the day at the 16th. Olsen sent the match to the 18th hole after converting a tough up-and-down from a greenside bunker before Shelton secured a 1-up victory with a birdie at the 18th.
Shelton birdied six of the last seven and nine of his final 13 to win by one, reflecting the high level of play in this match.
Redshirt freshman Wyndham Clark provided the Cowboys’ lone point of the match with a 3-and-1 victory over Tom Lovelady. Clark tallied wins at Nos. 3, 4, 6 and 8 to take a commanding 4-up lead before adding another win at the 10th. Lovelady answered with wins at Nos. 12, 13 and 14 to fight back to within two before Clark ended the match with a par at the 17th.
Trey Mullinax defeated Ian Davis, 2 and 1, in Match 4. After halving the first three holes, Mullinax won three of the next four and took a 4-up lead to the inward nine. Davis, who was battling both pink eye and strep throat, fought back to within one with wins at the 10th, 11th and 13th before Mullinax rolled in an eagle putt at the 17th to secure the deciding point in the match.
"I wasn’t feeling my best and he got off to a good start," said Davis, who will turn professional next week and try to qualify for an event on the Web.com Tour. "I got back in it, but he made a great putt there on 17 to close it out."
Davis could have tied the match if he could have got up and down from just 20 feet away for birdie on the drivable par-4 14th, but hit his chip 7 feet past the hole and missed the putt coming back. That hole proved detrimental to most of the OSU players as three of the five lost the hole to blunt their momentum or, like Davis, lost a great opportunity to win a hole.
The final match of the day saw Walker Cup teammates Cory Whitsett square off with OSU sophomore Jordan Niebrugge. Niebrugge got on the board first with a win at the third before Whitsett took the fourth. The duo halved the next five holes before a birdie at the 10th put Niebrugge back on top. Once again, Whitsett answered at the 11th and took his first lead at the 14th when Niebrugge conceded after driving left into deep grasses and failing to get on the green in five strokes, before claiming the 15th as well. The two walked off after Mullinax made his eagle.