Texas, ETSU breathing easier
Defining just what a "big" win is in college golf can be difficult at times. (Some insist the only big win is the one that comes at the NCAA Championship.) Still, the six-stroke victory that Texas pulled out over Oklahoma State at the 42nd Morris Williams Intercollegiate this afternoon was arguably the biggest win of any men's team this spring. After a dismal 14th-place showing (out of 15 squads) at the U.S. Collegiate two weeks ago, the Longhorns had a 67-75-3 overall record, putting them in jeopardy of missing the NCAA postseason because they didn't comply with "the .500 rule."
With a 16-over 868 score at the University of Texas GC in Austin (Yeah, playing at home sure was nice! Why do you think coach John Fields, third from left, has such a big grin in the accompanying photo), the Longhorns racked up 14 Ws to bump their record to 81-75-3.
So it is that as long as UT finishes no worse than ninth in the Big 12 Conference Championship, it is guaranteed to have the .500 or better record needed to get an at-large bid to regionals.
Leading the charge for the Longhorns was redshirt freshman Bobby Hudson, who secured medalist honors with a five-under 208 performance, including a competitive course record 65 in the final round one day after his 21st birthday, to beat teammate Charlie Holland by four strokes.
All this came two days after another "bubble team" I wrote about in Golf World a couple weeks ago seemed to give itself a little breathing room. I'm talking about East Tennessee State, which finished 12th at the U.S. Collegiate to drop its record to 58-55-2. The Bucs proceeded to finish third last weekend at the rain-shortened Administaff ASU Invitational, to improve to 72-57-2. This guarantees ETSU will have a better than .500 record since there are only 10 teams in the Atlantic Sun Conference (if the Bucs somehow finished last in their conference championship, they would be 72-66-2).