LAS VEGAS – The top-ranked Oklahoma men’s golf team posted 16 birdies on the back nine at Southern Highlands Golf Club to claim the 18-hole lead at the Southern Highlands Collegiate.
The Sooners (1, -20) lead No. 5 Pepperdine by five shots and No. 24 Florida by seven strokes as teams enter Monday’s second round of the three-day, 54-hole tournament. Patrick Welch owns a share of second, while Ben Lorenz and Drew Goodman share fourth. The Sooners are in the driver’s seat for their third consecutive win after winning the spring-opening Puerto Rico Classic and the East Lake Cup to close last fall.
“Today was just a great start,” head coach Ryan Hybl said. “20-under par at Southern Highlands…you can’t really ask for too much better than that. We finished really well. All six of our guys made a birdie on the 18th hole, so it’s just really, really special to finish the way that we did.”
With the 20-under performance, Oklahoma is now a combined 79-under across four rounds of play this spring. The 20-under opening-round score is the team’s third 20-under or better round of the spring, and the score vs. par is tied for sixth all-time for the Sooners.
Welch (T2, -6), who opened the Puerto Rico Classic with a school-record 10-under a few weeks ago, put together another strong round on day one, signing for a 66 (-6) on Sunday. The senior used a birdie on No. 2 and an eagle on the par-five third to start the day. Then, he battled through a double bogey and two more bogeys on the front before dominating the back nine. He closed with five birdies and four pars to post a 66 and claim a share of second place. He’ll start the second round one shot back of Georgia Tech’s Christo Lamprecht (1, -7).
“It’s so much fun to see him back in the lineup,” Hybl said of Welch. “He’s hitting the ball so great and he’s just making putts. On this last hole, he’s got a five-footer for birdie, right down the hill and he just buried it. Deep down in my heart and my soul it just feels really good and I know that he feels phenomenal about where he’s at with his game right now.”
Stephen Campbell Jr. (T4, -5), playing at Southern Highlands as an unattached individual, led the tournament through 15 holes of play Monday. The redshirt freshman wrapped up his bogey-free round with three more pars and shares fourth after 18 holes with Lorenz and Goodman.
The lone true freshman playing for OU this week, Drew Goodman (T4, -5), carded a 67 (-5) to open his week. He bogeyed the third but responded with 15 holes of clean golf, sinking six birdies to move into the top five.
Sophomore Ben Lorenz (T4, -5) played his best round of the year thus far, carding four birdies and an eagle en route to a 67 (-5). The Phoenix, Ariz., product bogeyed the second hold before battling back to join his teammates in fourth place.
Chris Gotterup (T11, -4), who entered the week as the No. 1 golfer in the country, opened his round with birdies on Nos. 1 and 3. The redshirt senior bogeyed the fifth hole and doubled the 12th but sunk five more birdies throughout his round to share 11th.
Logan McAllister (T22, -3) rounded out the Oklahoma lineup with a 69 (-3). The Oklahoma City native used a string of three birdies on the front and three more spread throughout his round to grab 22nd after 18 holes.
The OU lineup posted a field-high 31 birdies and two eagles as a group. The Sooners will tee off on Monday at 12:40 p.m. CT with No. 5 Pepperdine and No. 24 Florida, with McAllister starting the team off the first tee.
Live scoring will be available on Golfstat.com.