Niebrugge’s Open mark sets standard for Hovland to chase

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Photo: Jordan Niebrugge at the 2017 U.S. Open Championship.

By Del Lemon

When Viktor Hovland tees off Thursday in the U.S. Open with Oklahoma State head coach Alan Bratton again serving as his caddie, he’ll be chasing down another record for the ages held by an OSU golfer. (Lest we forget: Hovland  just broke Lindy Miller’s 41-year old Masters record for low score ever by an amateur at his first Masters).

The record Hovland might find himself chasing this week during Hovland’s final event as an amateur, is not held by Lindy Miller. Instead, it was set in 2015 by Cowboy Jordan Niebrugge competing as an amateur during the Open Championship at the Old Course, where he tied for sixth.

Could Hovland conceivably take at shot at the 277, arguably the GOAT amateur scoring record in 159-year, 352 event, major championship history — owned by a Poke?

Why not?

It’s conceivable it could be broken. Former OSU All-American Andy Dillard birdied the first six holes at Pebble Beach U.S. Open in 1992. That same year Gil Morgan—also a native Oklahoman—became the first player ever—amateur or pro— to reach double digits under par, at a U.S. Open but even that record crumbled and was for naught.

Pretty amazing . . .

Niebrugge’s  record bests Nicklaus’s amateur mark of 282 at the 1960 US Open (Cherry Hills) by 5, Charlie Coe’s 281 at the 1961 Masters by four, and Tiger Woods’ 281 for the 1996 Open Championship (at Lytham) also by four.

Just another golf record for the ages set by a former Cowboy (we shouldn’t forget the late Mark Hayes shooting first 63 ever posted at The Open Championship) from the golf program at the little school in Stillwater.

Hovland tees off at 3:47 CDT Thursday in a heady pairing with Brooks Koepka and Francisco Molinari. A few groups ahead will be a trio of OSU Cowboys including current junior All-American Austin Eckroat playing with former greats Alex Noren and Charles Howell III.

Del Lemon is the author of The Story of Golf in Oklahoma and yes, he’s a Cowboy at heart.


 

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