Sooners edged in playoff by hosts in Aggie Invitational

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BRYAN, Texas – No. 1 Oklahoma completed a comeback in the final round of the Aggie Invitational but came up short in a playoff with host No. 12 Texas A&M to conclude the regular season.

Sunday’s final round at the par-72, 7,227-yard Traditions Golf Club, home of Texas A&M, was a roller coaster on the leaderboard, as all three teams in contention led at one point during the day. Oklahoma trailed No. 5 Texas by three strokes entering play but quickly erased that deficit and took a three-shot lead of its own thru six holes. As the three teams made the final turn in Bryan, the Sooners clung to a one-shot advantage.

Oklahoma entered the 18th hole down just two shots off the Aggies with the final two groups remaining. Both Quade Cummins and Garett Reband sank par putts, and both Aggies, including medalist Sam Bennett, bogeyed the 18th, forcing a playoff between the old Big 12 foes. The Sooners lost the playoff on the first hole but grabbed a runner-up finish to close the regular season.

The Sooners concluded the regular season without finishing outside of the top-three, rattling off 10-straight top-three finishes, the best mark in a season under coach Ryan Hybl. Oklahoma has notched a top-five finish in 23 of its last 24 tournaments.

“Our guys hung in there all day,” Hybl said. “We didn’t execute enough good shots at the end of the day to win. I’m glad we had the opportunity for a playoff, even though it didn’t work out for us. It was a valuable experience for sure, and this has been a really nice two-tournament stretch.”

The Sooners were led by Garett Reband (E, 5th), who notched his 17th-straight top-15 finish in 54-hole events, a streak dating back to 2019. For the All-American, his fifth-place finish is the eighth of his career and third of the spring season. He was followed on the leaderboard by fellow redshirt senior Quade Cummins (+1, T6), who finished one shot behind Reband. Cummins’ first-round score of 69 (-3) was the team’s low of the weekend and helped guide him to his 19th all-time finish inside the top 10 as a Sooner.

Jonathan Brightwell’s 1-under 70 on Sunday powered him to a share of 16th at the Aggie, as he joined teammate Patrick Welch in that placement.

Brightwell, a graduate transfer from UNC-Greensboro, has been instrumental in the Sooners’ success this season, collecting five top 10s and not finishing outside of the top 20 in any of his lineup appearances for Hybl’s team. Welch returned to the lineup this weekend after playing unattached in the Calusa Cup. The junior’s T16 finish concludes a breakout season that saw the Aliso Viejo, Calif., product shine on the national stage by winning the East Lake Cup and climb as high as No. 5 in the national rankings.

Logan McAllister (+4, T21) was a lightning rod for the Sooners on Sunday, quickly helping to erase the Longhorn’s early lead with a couple of early birdies. He rose as high as 15th before a pair of late bogeys dropped him into a tie for 21st. McAllister continued his trend of solid finishes, as the junior hasn’t fired an over-par score in the final two rounds of a tournament since the Men’s NIT in March.

Freshman Ben Lorenz carded a 4-over 76 to close his regular season in a tie for 34th.

Oklahoma now shifts its focus to the Big 12 Championship, where the top-ranked Sooners seek their 18th all-time conference championship and second under Hybl. The tournament is slated for April 26-28 at Prairie Dunes CC in Hutchinson, Kan., and will feature four ranked teams, including three of the nation’s top five.

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Ken MacLeod

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