By Ken MacLeod
University of Oklahoma golf coach Ryan Hybl said he is thrilled that a Korn Ferry Tour event is coming to the Sooners home course and said it’s been something he and others in the OU golf orbit have been hopeful would occur for a long time.
“We’ve been dreaming about this for 10 years,” Hybl said. “We finally got some big time traction with the gentlemen with the accounting firm in Florida (Mark Lammert of Compliance Solutions, who signed a five-year deal as title sponsor.) I haven’t met him yet but I’m very excited that he is doing this.”
Hybl thinks playing at their home course could be a wonderful opportunity for the Sooners competing on the KFT, maybe providing an opportunity to win and move on to the PGA Tour.
When a Nationwide Tour event was held in Athens, three Georgia players – Harris English, Russell Henley and Hudson Swafford – had success that helped kickstart their professional careers. Henley won the event in 2011, Swafford in 2012 and English had two top 25 finishes.
Hybl played for Georgia from 2001-04 and was an assistant coach there from 2005-09 at which time he also played professionally.
He said the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Course would be an ideal test and should be in perfect condition for the June 22-25 dates.The course has held its own against long-hitting college players in NCAA regional championships including last spring and can be pushed out to over 7,500 yards.
“It all depends on what the Tour wants to do, but we can set that up as a great championship test,” Hybl said. “This course, our community and the state are the perfect match for the Korn Ferry Tour. Our fan support will be really good. This is the only professional event we will have consistently in the state. It’s just a great opportunity.”
Former Sooners on the Korn Ferry Tour currently include Quade Cummins, Jonathan Brightwell, Garett Reband, Grant Hirschman, Michael Gellerman and Charlie Saxon. Former Oklahoma State players include Austin Eckroat, Kris Ventura, Kevin Dougherty and Sam Stevens. More join each year and hopefully some will be moving on to the PGA Tour.