The Oklahoma men’s golf team claimed the team title at the Gopher Invitational, while junior Grant Hirschman finished as the individual medalist. The two-day, 54-hole event was held at the par-71, 7,152-yard Windsong Farm Golf Club in Independence, Minn.
This team win is the 13th under OU head coach Ryan Hybl and the first of the season. The Sooners are also now back-to-back champions in the tournament.
Additionally, the win is particularly significant for the Sooners. Last week, Hybl and his wife, Becca, lost a baby boy at 18 weeks of pregnancy named Tucker Jackson Hybl. Coach Hybl did not travel to the tournament, but the team attached ribbons that said “TJH” to their hats and bags and wrote the initials on their hats in honor of the Hybl family.
“This is one of the proudest days of my life as a coach,” Hybl said.
Assistant coach Jim Garren said claiming the title was emotional for the team.
“It’s hard to put into words how much our guys wanted to win this event,” he explained. “There are lots of emotions right now, and even a few tears.”
The Sooners fired a 287 (+3) in Sunday’s final round, the lowest round of the day out of the 14-team field, to finish the weekend with an 860 (+8).
“The last five holes, the wind really picked up, and those are very demanding holes regardless of conditions,” Garren said. “Added to that, San Diego State not only made a run but caught us. But, our guys stepped up to the plate on 18 and won the golf tournament.”
OU bested San Diego State by five strokes, and Michigan State took third, one stroke behind the Aztecs. Kent State finished fourth at 872 (+20), and New Mexico placed fifth with an 874 (+22).
Hirschman earned his first individual tournament win with a three-round 210 (-3). Heading into the 18th hole of the final round in a tie for first, the Collierville, Tenn., native, carded a birdie to claim the title outright. His third-round 69 (-2) is the 10th round of his career in the 60s.
“It means so much to finally get my first individual win and also get the team title!” Hirschman said. “It wasn’t a normal tournament week not having Coach Hybl here, but we all worked together and won for him this week.”
Garren commended Hirschman for his performance throughout the tournament.
“Hirsch played great all week, and we are all so proud of him,” Garren said. “He just won against a great field on a hard, hard course.”
Blaine Hale ended the tournament with a share of fifth place with an overall 214 (+1). The sophomore shot a 73 (+2) in Sunday’s round to earn the first top-five finish of his career.
Senior Max McGreevy bounced back from a difficult second round to tally a 69 (-2) on the final 18 holes, helping him to advance 27 places into a tie for 16th place at 217 (+4). This finish is McGreevy’s 19th career top-20 placing, and his third-round performance marks his 25th career round in the 60s.
Sophomore Brad Dalke finished in a tie for 35th with a three-round 222 (+9) after carding a 78 (+7) in the final round.
Redshirt freshman Quade Cummins claimed a share of 49th place. He posted a 76 (+5) to total 227 (+14) for the tournament.
Also competing this weekend were freshmen Riley Casey and Garett Reband, who played in the separate Gopher Individual tournament at the nearby par-72, 6,953-yard Pioneer Creek Golf Course among 40 competitors. Casey earned 10th at 219 (+3) to mark the first top-10 placing of his career, and Reband finished with a share of 17th at 226 (+10), the first top-20 showing of his career.
The Sooners return to competition Oct. 2-4 (Sunday-Tuesday) at the Nike Collegiate Invitational in Fort Worth, Texas, at the Colonial Country Club.