BY JIM MISUNAS
HUTCHINSON, KAN. – No. 2 Oklahoma State was on target to secure its 10th Big 12 Golf Championship when No. 18 Texas flipped the script Wednesday at Prairie Dunes Country Club.
The Longhorns’ Doug Ghim finished birdie/birdie, and Texas played No. 17 in 5-under par to rally from a seven-stroke deficit. Ghim converted a 5-foot birdie after a 9-iron from 125 yards for a two-stroke lead with two players left.
After 72 holes and three days of stifling weather, the Big 12 Golf Championship was determined by one shot when Longhorn fifth man Scottie Scheffler bogeyed the 18th hole.
Texas captured its fifth consecutive Big 12 title with an 18-over 298 Wednesday for a 1,168-stroke total. The Cowboys shot 19-over 299 for a 1,169-stroke total on a morning that started with a wind chill index of 33 and north winds from 15 to 20 mph.
Longhorns Ghim 70/288 and Scheffler 73/288 finished one stroke behind Big 12 medalist Chase Hanna of the University of Kansas.
Texas gained four strokes on the Cowboys at No. 17 when Hall eagled after a 390-yard drive and Ghim, Spencer Soosman and Scheffler birdied. Hayden Wood was the only Cowboy to birdie the downwind par 5.
“This one will sting for a while,” said Oklahoma State coach Alan Bratton. “We had one hand on the trophy. It shouldn’t have come down to that for us. We’ve got to play better.”
Cowboy Zach Bauchou nearly forced a team playoff with a 60-degree wedge chip-in at No. 18 that hit the cup and bounced off the flagstick.
“I tried to hit it 5-6 feet in the air, check fast and get a little roll into the hole,” Bauchou said. “I hit really good shots at 18.”
Bauchou watched a well-executed gap wedge from 105 yards spin off the 18th green. He led the Cowboys’ performance with a 75/291.
“I hit a pretty good shot, but it had too much spin,” he said. “That’s the first ball that spun back all week. We were shocked when it did that. It was unfortunate.”
Bratton said a world-class course like Prairie Dunes has a masterful way of creating pure drama.
“It’s fitting for a venue like Prairie Dunes, which is one of my favorite golf courses,” Bratton said. “Hats off to Texas for a good performance. They made birdies coming down the stretch.”
Bratton liked seeing how well his team played under high pressure stakes. Bratton is a two-time league medalist who led the Cowboys to the 1995 NCAA Golf Championship.
“The biggest lesson is that there’s often a fine line between winning and losing,” he said. “Anytime it’s one shot, we talk about that all the time. You don’t want to have any regrets. You want to make sure you’ve done everything you can on the golf course. I know our guys fought hard.”
Other Cowboy scores were recorded by Viktor Hovlund 72/294, Zachary Olsen 77/298, Kristoffer Ventura 78/298 and Hayden Wood 75/302. Wood rallied from a 6-over-par stretch with back-to-back birdies on the back nine
Bratton said Bauchou played high-quality golf all week.
“Zach Bauchou gave us a chance with how well he played,” Bratton said. “He hit a quality shot that spun off the green when he needed birdie. He knew he needed to chip it in and gave it a great effort. That’s the type of shot you might need when we eventually get to match play.”
Winds gusted past 40 mph Monday, which canceled a second round scheduled Monday. Calmer conditions prevailed Tuesday when Texas shot 6-under-par 294.
Bratton said he expected challenging conditions at Prairie Dunes.
“First round is was very difficult conditions. It’s hard to quantify when it gets that’s tough,” he said. “It doesn’t take much wind for Prairie Dunes to be a challenge. You can just imagine how tough it would’ve been had they had not burned the gunch off.”
No. 43 Kansas finished third 288/1,172 followed by Texas Tech 296/1,183.
No. 13 Oklahoma never gained traction with a fifth-place finish 304/1,185.
The 2018 Big 12 Championship will be staged at Southern Hills Country Club.
“This was a tough week for us,” OU head coach Ryan Hybl said. “The conditions and the golf course definitely won this week. Our guys fought hard, but we just weren’t good enough over 72 holes to get the job done. Prairie Dunes is a difficult test, and hopefully we can learn from this week and move forward.”
Senior Max McGreevy was the Sooners’ best finisher, earning fifth with an overall 292 (+12). The Edmond, Okla., native fired a 73 (+3) in the final round to claim the third top-five placing of his season and 11th of his career.
Junior Rylee Reinertson and sophomore Brad Dalke also finished in the top 10, tying for ninth at 295 (+15) to mark two consecutive top-10 placings for both Sooners. Reinertson and Dalke recorded a 74 (+4) and an 80 (+10), respectively, on Wednesday.
Junior Grant Hirschman carded a 77 (+7) on the day to total 303 (+23) for the tournament and tie for 31st. Sophomore Blaine Hale took 43rd with an overall 315 (+35) after tallying a 82 (+12) in the final round.
The Sooners will be back in action on May 15-17 at an NCAA Regional. The selections for the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship will be announced on Thursday, May 4 starting at 11 a.m. CT live on the Golf Channel.
Complete results are at www.golfstate.com.