NORMAN — The Oklahoma men had to win a playoff to get where they’ll be this morning. With that in mind, it would be a shame to waste such an opportunity, especially when drawing extra motivation from the plight of so many fellow Oklahomans.
Sooner men’s golf coach Ryan Hybl isn’t making any bones about it. That’s part of the story as OU enters the NCAA championships beginning this morning at the Crabapple Course, part of the Capital City Club in Atlanta.
“We have extra motivation this week to play for the state of Oklahoma” he said, “because of the devastation that occurred last week.”
OU got there by carding a cumulative score of 3-under par 17 on a single playoff hole, the 18th, a par 5 at Golden Eagle Golf and Country Club in Tallahassee, Fla. South Florida, the playoff opponent, carded a 20. With that, the Sooners received the fifth and final spot into the national tournament from the Tallahassee Regional.
When it happened, Hybl said it might have been a better entry into the national tournament than winning the regional. Today, his team will begin to find out.
“We have been working all year for this week,” Hybl said. “All of our guys have put in the preparation needed and we are looking forward to seeing the course.”
The Sooners will send out the same group of five they took into regional competition: Abraham Ancer (72.74 stroke average), Will Kropp (72.96), Michael Schoolcraft (73.06), Charlie Saxon (73.29) and Beau Titsworth (73.43).
The Sooners are one of 30 teams in the field and carry the No. 25 position in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings.
Other Big 12 schools at the tourney include No. 3 Texas, No. 7 TCU, No. 11 Oklahoma State and No. 37 Texas Tech.
Joining Texas among the favorites in the event are No. 1 Cal, No. 2 Alabama, No. 4 UCLA and No. 5 New Mexico.
The tournament will follow a hybrid format of 54 holes of stroke play that will determine an individual medalist and All-American honors while whittling the field down to eight teams from which a national champion will be determined via a match-play bracket.
OU will be hoping to improve upon last season’s 11th-place finish at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
The Sooners, who are playing in their third straight national tournament, last top-10 finish came in 1993, when they placed ninth.
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