Sooners finish one shot outside of match play at NCAA Championship

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CARLSBAD, Calif.— Despite piecing together two of the field’s best rounds over the final two days of play, the Oklahoma men’s golf team saw its season end on Monday at the NCAA Championship when the Sooners finished one shot outside of the eight-team cut to miss match play.

The Sooners (9, +26) finished ninth at the championship, their 21st all-time top-10 finish at the championship and seventh in the last eight years. OU rose to seventh early in the round after erasing a five-shot hole, but couldn’t hang on to the final spot as Georgia Tech edged the Sooners by one stroke at the par-72 Omni La Costa’s North Course.

“I’m just so proud of how our guys fought over these last two days,” head coach Ryan Hybl said after the round. “Of course, we’re sad because you never want the ride to end, but these guys had guts and grit, and they showed everyone out here what Oklahoma golf is all about. When your back is against the wall, you can choose to quit or fight, and our guys fought with all they had.”

The Sooners battled back and put themselves in position to advance but had a few misfortunes on the par-5 18th hole. Ryder Cowan got in sand trouble and made double bogey, while Jace Summy made a bogey. Combined with a birdie by Ben Lorenz, the Sooners played the final hole in 2-over while even par would have lifted them into match play.

Illinois was the lone team under par and will be the No. 1 seed in match play after beating the field by 16 shots and finishing at 6-under par. Georgia Tech’s Hiroshi Tai (-3) won the individual national title, holding off seven golfers who finished at 2-under.

Sophomore Summy paced Oklahoma for the week, finishing in a tie for 27th at 5-over par. The Keller, Texas, product was even on the day after a pair of birdies and bogeys before a bogey on the 18th set him back a few spots on the leaderboard.

All-American Ben Lorenz  wrapped up his collegiate career on Monday afternoon, finishing in a tie for 35th and securing a top-15 spot in the PGA TOUR U rankings. As a result of his 13th-place finish in PGA TOUR U, Lorenz locks up status for the rest of the season on the PGA’s America’s Tour. As a Sooner, the Peoria, Ariz., native played in 36 events, including four national championships, tallied 106 rounds and notched three career wins.

Drew Goodman  joined Lorenz in 35th, finishing the week at 7-over par. His 2-under 70 on Monday was highlighted by an eagle on the 11th that got OU within striking distance of the cut. The junior is poised to enter next season as one of the top seniors in the country.

True freshman  Cowan wrapped up his first year of college golf with a T67 finish at NCAAs. On Monday, he carded a 73. His three front-nine birdies and eagle on the difficult 13th from 180 yards out aided the Sooners in their comeback attempt.

In the final round, Luke Kluver (SUB, +19) closed the OU lineup with a 78 (+6). He closes his college career, which began at Kansas, with 101 rounds played that produced two wins and 12 top 10s.

As a team, Oklahoma tallied three victories on the season, including a win at the Rancho Santa Fe Regional title to qualify for its 13th consecutive championship which is the second longest streak in the nation.

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Ken MacLeod

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