By Murray Evans
NORMAN (June 23, 2021) – At least four University of Oklahoma golfers hope OU coach Ryan Hybl will consider the Oklahoma Golf Association Stroke Play Championship as a team qualifier for the upcoming fall season.
Led by champion Jake Holbrook, those four Sooners finished in the top eight in the weather-shortened two-round event that ended Wednesday on OU’s home course, Jimmie Austin Golf Club. Holbrook, a rising sophomore from Granbury, Texas, only had one bogey over 36 holes and finished at 11-under-par 133, six shots ahead of his teammate and the runner-up, rising senior Lane Wallace of Yukon.
J.P. Roller, a rising sophomore at Texas Tech who’s from Jenks, took third at 4-under. OU redshirt freshman Jaxon Dowell of Edmond was fourth and incoming OU freshman Hudson Weibel of Dallas finished in a three-way tie for sixth at 1-under.
“I wanted to play here,” said Holbrook, who shot a 5-under 67 in the final round. “I really like this golf course. We play it all the time and it’s a super-fun track. All of us that play on the (OU) team, we get to play here pretty much every day during the season, so I do know this course very well. It’s looking as good as it’s ever looked. It was a fun week.”
The Sooners will lose quite a bit of talent (five seniors) off the squad that lost three weeks ago in the NCAA title match to Pepperdine, but it appears Hybl’s stable isn’t exactly empty as he prepares his team for the upcoming season.
“Our team is pretty deep, even those who don’t play,” Wallace said. “Anyone can go out and win. It’s all about having confidence. I hadn’t been playing good in a while but I’ve been putting a lot of work in. I was ready to go out there and kind of prove to people that I still play good golf. I’m glad I did that.”
Holbrook, who played in three tournaments for OU during the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season but not at all in 2020-21, hopes to be among those in the mix for a treasured lineup spot. He is playing a handful of events in both Texas and Oklahoma this summer and acknowledged the fact the OGA event was on his collegiate home course was a strong lure as he was planning his schedule.
After Monday’s schedule opening round was cancelled due to rain, Holbrook seized control of the tournament Tuesday with a 66, recording only one bogey, that on the par-3 No. 2. Wallace, who hasn’t played in a tournament for the Sooners during his four seasons on the OU roster, was right behind at 67, with Roller third at 68.
Wallace bogeyed No. 2 on Wednesday to fall two shots behind Holbrook, but then both players birdied No. 3, No. 4, No. 5 and No. 8 while Roller fell back with a bogey at No. 2 and a double bogey at No. 6. At the turn, Holbrook was 10-under and Wallace 8-under, within easy striking distance.
“He was putting the pressure on me and wasn’t backing down,” Holbrook said of Wallace. “I was just trying to match him.”
The par-3 No. 12 proved to be a pivotal hole for Wallace. His tee shot was right at the pin but went just a couple of feet past the green into rough and Wallace’s first attempt to get on the green failed and his second chip, from about 15 feet out, rolled right by the hole. The bogey put him three shots back.
A chip shot to within five feet on the par-5 No. 13 eventually resulted in a birdie for Holbrook, giving him a four-shot lead. On the par-4 No. 14, Wallace’s tee shot on No. 14 sailed wide left, forcing him to punch out into the fairway. He missed a 25-foot putt to save par and Holbrook’s lead increased to five shots.
“That shot (on 12) was kind of a momentum killer, because I thought I hit a great shot there,” Wallace said. “My chip wasn’t very easy and I left it short. I couldn’t get anything going after that. It killed all my momentum. But (Holbrook) played great. I hung in there. I gave him a lot of firepower early but he just kept hitting good shot after good shot. That’s what it takes.”
Roller closed fast, getting to 5-under and tying Wallace for second at one point before Roller bogeyed the par-5 No. 18 after his second shot sailed into a deep greenside bunker. Wallace and Roller each posted a 72 in the final round.
Holbrook said his game plan Wednesday was simple – don’t make a bogey.
“I didn’t,” Holbrook said. “That was successful. I was trying to make them catch me. I wasn’t going to come back to them.
“This (result) gives me confidence. With the older (OU) guys leaving, all of them taught us younger guys so much. But it’s our turn now. We’ve got to fill the shoes they’ve left and this is a good way to start to do that.”
Oklahoma Golf Association
Stroke Play Championship
June 21-23, 2021
Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club
Jake Holbrook, Granbury – 66-67–133
Lane Wallace, Yukon – 67-72–139
James Roller, Jenks – 68-72–140
Jaxon Dowell, Edmond – 71-70–141
Dalton Daniel, Newcastle – 71-71–142
Jacob Lackey, McPherson – 72-71–143
Zac Owens, Mooreland – 73-70–143
Hudson Weibel, Dallas – 70-73–143
Carson Wright, Norman – 72-72–144
Heston Brown, Cordell – 73-73–146
Turner Hosch, Norman – 71-75–146
Dominic Stevens, Crescent – 74-72–146
Charlie Jackson, Norman – 74-73–147
Luke Morgan, Guthrie – 73-74–147
Parker Rose, Stigler – 74-73–147
Cole Stephenson, Tulsa – 72-75–147
Zander Tway, Tuttle – 71-76–147
Connor Wilson, Edmond – 74-73–147
JR Hurley, Norman – 73-75–148
Daniel Langley, Shawnee – 73-75–148
Payte Owen, Norman – 72-76–148
Reid Roden, Norman – 74-74–148
Jake Bay, Shattuck – 72-77–149
Mesa Falleur, Muskogee – 74-75–149
Michael Gotcher, Broken Arrow – 74-75–149
Tres Hill, Elk City – 71-78–149
Kyle Hudelson, Edmond – 74-76–150
Bryce Newton, Edmond – 74-76–150
Zane Heusel, Edmond – 72-79–151
Parker Payne, Norman – 72-79–151
Craig Sanders, Edmond – 73-78–151
Ryan Bell, Norman – 74-78–152
Jeff Cox, Broken Arrow – 72-80–152
Jack Glenn, Stillwater – 71-82–153
Heath Myers, Kingfisher – 74-79–153
Dylan Teeter, Bixby – 73-80–153
Bryson Terry, Poteau – 74-80–154
William Coffman, Marlow – 74-82–156
Christopher Laughlin, Edmond – 74-87–161
Brett Wilcoxen, Tulsa – 72-89–161