Sooners begin spring season in Puerto Rico Classic

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NORMAN – The No. 6 Oklahoma men’s golf team travels to Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, this weekend to open the spring season at the Puerto Rico Classic. The three-day, 54-hole tournament will take place Sunday-Tuesday at the par-72, 6,902-yard River Course at the Rio Mar Beach and Spa Resort.

The 15-team field features seven ranked teams in the Golfweek top 50, including three in the top 10. The Sooners start the spring at No. 6 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings.

The Sooners open up 2019 after posting a record breaking round at the Ka’anapali Collegiate Classic to close out their fall schedule. OU carded a 20-under 264 in the final round at the Ka’anapali Collegiate Classic to set the program for the lowest team round in school history. Three members of the Sooner’s squad finished in the top 10 while competing in Hawaii.

Redshirt junior Quade Cummins is leading the team into the spring season after being named Big 12 Golfer of the Month for November. Cummins took home the tournament title at the Marathon Sun Bowl after posting a 62 (-9), matching the lowest round in event history. The Weatherford, Okla., native was selected to the initial watch list for the Ben Hogan Award on Wednesday.

Oklahoma’s lineup will include Cummins, senior Blaine Hale, juniors Riley Casey and Garett Reband along with freshman Patrick Welch. Redshirt junior Thomas Johnson will compete as an individual.

The Sooners begin their round Sunday with a 7 a.m. CT shotgun start.

THE FIELD (GOLFWEEK/SAGARIN RANKINGS IN PARENTHESES)

Alabama (4)

Oklahoma (6)

Georgia Tech (7)

Clemson (11)

Georgia (13)

Kentucky

Marquette

North Carolina State

Northwestern

Purdue

Middle Tennessee

Virginia Tech

Maryland

East Carolina

UNC Greensboro

OU LINEUP
1. Quade Cummins, RS-Junior: Named to Ben Hogan Award Watch List … Won the Marathon Sun Bowl All- American Classic after winning the playoff … Shot the third-lowest three-round score in program history at the Ka’anapali Classic with a 198 (-15) … Picked up four victories at the Big 12 Match Play Tournament … Appeared in 10 events, earning six top-10 finishes last season … Finished third at the NCAA Norman Regional, recording a 54-hole score of 208 (-8) … 2018 Division I PING All-America honorable mention selection … All-Region pick by the GCAA.

2. Blaine Hale, Senior: Won Gopher Invitational in September for first individual win … Shot a 65 in the opening round at the Carmel Cup, tying for 13th at 210 (-6)… Two-time Division I PING All-America honorable mention selection … Competed in 13 team events last season … Tied for 11th at the NCAA Championships to mark the Sooners’ best individual finish at the national tournament since 2012.

3. Riley Casey, Junior: Competed in five fall events … Recorded three top-10 finishes in the past four tournaments … Carded a 13-under 200 to finish fourth at the Ka’anapali Collegiate Classic … Carded a 65 to finish in the top five at the Carmel Cup at 204 (-12) … Tied for ninth place at the Gopher Invitational with a 54-hole 213 (E).

4. Garett Reband, Junior: Finished second in the Carmel Cup posting a 200 (-16) including two rounds in the 60s … Competed in 10 team events last season … Carded a par-72 after making par on every hole in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Norman Regional finishing the tournament in 11th place.

5. Patrick Welch, Freshman: Tied for sixth in his individual collegiate appearance at the Ka’anapali Collegiate Classic … Posted three consecutive rounds in the 60’s … Collected a win against Iowa State in the Big 12 Match Play … Four-time Rhode Island Junior Player of the Year … Qualified for the U.S. Amateur on four occasions … Plays crossed-handed.

Individual: Thomas Johnson, RS-Junior: Making first appearance as an individual this season … As a sophomore, played in two events in the team lineup … Finished with OU’s best third-round score at the Puerto Rico Classic, shooting 69 (-2) last season… Tied for 21st place at the Puerto Rico Classic carding a 217 (+4).

THE COURSE
The par-72, 6,902-yard River Course at the Rio Mar Country Club serves as the course for the Puerto Rico Classic.

FORMAT
Fifty-four holes will be played over three days. Rounds one and two are scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. CT on Sunday and Monday with a shotgun start, and the final round is slated for 6:30 a.m. CT on Tuesday.

WEATHER FORECAST
Sunday: Sunny with a 20 percent chance of rain, a high of 82 degrees and wind from the east at 15 mph.

Monday: Mostly sunny with a 20 percent chance of rain, a high of 81 degrees and wind from the east at 15 mph.

Tuesday: Sunny with a 20 percent chance of rain, a high of 81 degrees and wind from the east, northeast at 15 mph.

OU’S PUERTO RICO CLASSIC HISTORY
With a three-round 855 (+3), the Sooners took second place at last season’s Puerto Rico Classic. This year marks OU’s eighth straight appearance at the tournament and its 12th overall.

LIVE STATS
Live stats will be available on GolfStat.com<http://results.golfstat.com/public/leaderboards/gsnav.cfm?pg=team&tid=16302>.

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