Cowboys look for 11th title in Florida

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Oklahoma State will pursue its 11th NCAA title when play gets underway this week at the NCAA Championship at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla. The event will run Friday through Wednesday and will consist of 72 holes of stroke play to determine the eight teams for the match play portion of the tournament as well as the individual champion.

After 54 holes, the field will be trimmed to the top 15 teams and top nine individuals on non-advancing teams. The quarterfinal and semifinal matches will take place on Tuesday and will be followed by Wednesday’s championship match. OSU will be the No. 20 seed and will be grouped with No. 19 seed Southern California and Virginia, the No. 21 seed. The trio will tee off Friday at 7:20 a.m. (EST) The three teams will begin second-round action on Saturday at 12:40 p.m. Live scoring will be available at Golf Channel will televise the action Monday through Wednesday.

OSU has won 10 NCAA titles and has produced eight individual national champions. The Cowboys last national title came in 2006 under the direction of Mike McGraw. That same year also resulted in OSU’s most recent medalist at the event in Jonathan Moore. OSU’s first NCAA crown came in 1963 under the guidance of Labron Harris. Former coach and current OSU athletics director Mike Holder captured eight titles, winning in 1976, 1978, 1980, 1983, 1987, 1991, 1995 and 2000. Additionally, the Cowboys have produced 17 runner-up finishes after placing second a year ago. Earl Moeller was OSU’s first individual champion in 1953 and was followed by Grier Jones in 1968. David Edwards won in 1978 and was followed by Scott Verplank, Brian Watts an E.J. Pfister, who won consecutively from 1986-88. Charles Howell won in record-setting fashion in 2000 and was the program’s seventh national champion.

NCAA Rewind … 2014 NCAA Championship
The Cowboys finished as the runner-up at the 2014 NCAA Championship after falling in the title match to Alabama, 4-1, at Prairie Dunes Country Club. Oklahoma State finished as the event’s runner-up for the 17th time in program history. The Cowboys have now finished first or second at the event 27 times in 67 appearances. In the first match of the day, Bobby Wyatt knocked off Talor Gooch, 3 and 2. Zachary Olsen sent the match to the 18th hole after converting a tough up-and-down from a greenside bunker before Robby Shelton secured a 1-up victory with a birdie at the 18th. Wyndham Clark provided the Cowboys’ lone point of the match with a 3-and-1 victory over Tom Lovelady. Trey Mullinax defeated Ian Davis, 2 and 1, in Match 4. The final match of the day saw Cory Whitsett square off with Jordan Niebrugge and post a 2-and-1 win.
• The Cowboys have now competed at the NCAA Championship in 68 of the program’s 69 years, including an NCAA-record string of 65 consecutive appearances from 1947-2011.
• Clark, Niebrugge and Olsen took part in OSU’s NCAA run last year. The Cowboys have extensive match play experience elsewhere, including Niebrugge’s wins at the Wisconsin State Match Play and the U.S. Amateur Public Links in 2013, Jelley’s 2014 Oklahoma State Amateur title, Olsen’s run to the 2014 U.S. Amateur quarterfinals and Clark’s participation for the U.S. at the Palmer Cup in 2014.
• After last season’s runner-up finish, the Cowboys have finished first or second at the event 27 times (10 titles, 17 second-place showings) and have finished in the top five 52 times in 67 NCAA appearances.
• The Cowboys’ average NCAA Championship finish over their previous 67 appearances is 5.2. 

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Ken MacLeod

Publisher Golf Oklahoma | Oklahoma's No. 1 Golf Source

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