By Ken MacLeod
Longhorn domination only increased on the second day of the Big 12 Championship at Southern Hills, Country Club, as Texas players took over the top three spots and the team put 20 shots between it and second-place Texas Tech.
Scottie Scheffler moved past teammate Gavin Hall into the top spot after a 2-under 68 put him at 3-under 207 for 54 holes. Hall, after a third round of 4-over 74, is next at even-par 210, while Doug Ghim moved into a tie for third with a 68 that could have been much better.
Ghim was 5-under after birdies on the par-4 10th and par-3 11th holes, but missed birdie opportunities on 12 and 13, then bogeyed three of his final five holes. The second-ranked Longhorns shot a 2-over 282 on a course playing long from 1.25 inches of overnight rain.
"It was a grind all day," Ghim said. "I had a good round going, but it’s a tough finishing stretch. I made a lot of good putts. Made a 25-footer on one, 15-footer for par on two and a 9-footer for par on three. Made a bunker shot on six that was a huge bonus.
"This is a tough course. I was talking with (teammate Beau Hassler) and we think this is the tightest driving course we’ve ever played. Not only is it narrow, but the fairways are sloped and you’ve just got a small window to put it in the right spot."
Texas Tech, led by Wes Artac and Clement Sordet, both tied for third with Ghim after rounds of 70 and 73 respectively, shot 284 and is within 20 shots of Texas, 849 to 869. TCU is third at 877, followed by Iowa State 880, Oklahoma 883, Oklahoma State 886, Baylor 895, Kansas 897 and Kansas State 913.
For the Sooners, Michael Gellerman remained in the top 10 with a third-round 74 and is tied for sixth at 5-over 215. The Cowboys got a solid round from top player Jordan Niebrugge with an even-par 70 that moved him into a tie for 13th with teammate Zachary Olsen at 9 over.
OU coach Ryan Hybl said it was the excellent short game of the Longhorns that is keeping them close to par while leading to mistakes for everyone else. His team in particular has played some of the longer, tougher holes well while chopping up some of the shorter holes that could be birdied. "This course is showing us where we’re at as a team right now and maybe not as good as we thought," Hybl said. "And that’s not a bad thing. There’s an opportunity to really work on things before regionals.
"For us, what I’m seeing us do continually is giving up shots on the easy holes. We’re giving up too many shots on the holes you can’t give up shots on. I saw three guys for Texas have phenomenal short games yesterday. Scottie Scheffler yesterday showed the best short game I’ve seen in a long time. On a course like this, the team with the best individuals is going to win and I think they’re the best team in the country."
Oklahoma State got a 73 from Kristoffer Ventura and rounds of 76 from Brendon Jelley and Tanner Kesterson. The Cowboys will be paired with Iowa Staten and Oklahoma for the final round Wednesday morning.
OSU coach Alan Bratton, faced with a 37-shot deficit to Texas, said he’s just looking for some consistency before regional play starts.
"If we can put a solid round together, we can be in there battling for second. Second is better than third and third is better than fourth. We just want to finally have a good round and see how high we can finish."
1. Texas 287-280-282=849
2. Texas Tech 292-293-284=869
3. TCU 292-298-287=877
4. Iowa State 298-285-297=880
5. Oklahoma 297-291-295=883
6. Oklahoma State 301-293-292=886
7. Baylor 297-300-298=895
8. Kansas 298-302-297=897
9. Kansas State 305-299-309=913
1. Scottie Scheffler (Texas) 72-67-68=207
2. Gavin Hall (Texas) 65-71-74=210
T3. Doug Ghim (Texas) 76-70-68=214
T3. Wes Artac (Texas Tech) 70-74-70=214
T3. Clement Sordet (Texas Tech) 71-70-73=214
T6. Michael Gellerman 71-70-74=215
T19. Grant Hirschman 75-74-73=222
T22. Beau Titsworth 78-73-73=224
T30. Charlie Saxon 78-74-75=227
T39. Luke Kwon 73-81-78=232
T-13. Jordan Niebrugge 76-73-70 – 219
T-13, Zachary Olsen 75-71-73 – 219
T-28. Brendon Jelley 77-73-76 – 226
T-31. Tanner Kesterson 73-79-76 – 228
43. Kristoffer Ventura 82-76-73 – 231