Welch, Sooners prevail at Southern Highlands Collegiate

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LAS VEGAS – Patrick Welch won the individual title and led No. 1 Oklahoma to a title sweep at the Southern Highlands Collegiate as the Sooners signed for a 826 (-38) on the week to win by seven strokes.

The Sooners (1, -38) held off late charges from No. 5 Pepperdine (2, -31) and No. 15 Texas (3, -30) to clinch their third consecutive win, becoming just the third program in NCAA history to win three straight tournaments. With his medalist honor, Welch earned an invitation to the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, which will take place Oct. 6-9, 2022, at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas.

“Amazing day. Really amazing week for our guys,” head coach Ryan Hybl said after the 33rd win of his coaching career. “Our guys just kept doing their job for the whole round and that’s what you have to do. You have to be super disciplined around this golf course. Southern Highlands popped its head through the last day and a half – it got firmer and faster. I’m just really proud of how we pulled off some shots and made putts when we had to.”

Oklahoma entered Tuesday’s final round at the par-72, 7,510-yard Southern Highlands Golf Club with a seven-shot lead, but that advantage evaporated on the front nine as Pepperdine stormed back to tie it at 29-under par. The Sooners sunk enough birdies and steadied the ship on the back nine to put the Wave and Longhorns away.

Welch (1, -14), the 2020 East Lake Cup champion, earned his second career victory by posting rounds of 66-69-67 to match his career-low 54-hole score of 202 (-14), which he set at the Puerto Rico Classic two weeks ago. The senior led the field with 19 birdies on the week, the most in a 54-hole event of his career.

Drew Goodman and Logan McAllister each collected top-10 finishes to power the Crimson and Cream past the finish line.

Goodman (T2, -11), a true freshman from Norman, closed his week with a 68 (-4) to share runner-up honors, the best finish of his young career. Goodman provided Hybl’s team with a counting score in each round, guiding the Sooners to a win.

McAllister (T7, -9) fired a 71 (-1) to earn a share of seventh behind 16 birdies, tied for third most among all golfers. The top-10 placement is the All-Americans eighth of his career and 16th top 20.

Ben Lorenz (T26, -3) signed for a critical 70 (-2) Tuesday to help fend off the 15-team field. The sophomore’s round moved him 10 spots up the leaderboard to share 26th.

Chris Gotterup (T50, +2), who entered the week as the nation’s top golfer, battled through a pair of bogeys early on Tuesday to close with eight pars and fire a 74 (+2). The redshirt senior finished in a tie for 50th but will need to shift focus quickly. Gotterup heads back to Puerto Rico to make his PGA Tour debut at the Puerto Rico Open this week after earning an invitation by winning the Puerto Rico Classic a few weeks ago.

As a team, Oklahoma is a combined 97-under over its last six rounds of play and has posted four of the school’s 10 lowest rounds in program history during in that stretch. The 97-under mark over two tournaments marks the lowest combined scores vs. par in back-to-back events in NCAA history.

“It’s been a great start to our spring season,” Hybl added. “We came out hot in Puerto Rico to beat a really good field. It’s just been an amazing job from all of our guys so far. Chris obviously went down to Puerto Rico and won and then for Patrick Welch to come out here and win is just phenomenal. Really proud of how he handled everything coming down the stretch today.”

Oklahoma will look to make it four straight wins on March 18-19 at the Men’s NIT at Tucson National in Arizona. The Sooners finished second at the 2021 NIT as Garett Reband claimed medalist honors at the tournament.

“This team is just so tough and gritty,” Hybl closed with. “They’ve really got a never say die mentality. We’ve been fortunate to get off to some really good starts, but this group just finishes it too. I think that’s what makes this group special.”


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Ken MacLeod

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