Spieth leads team to second-straight tournament win

Peter Sblendorio

For the second consecutive week, the Texas Longhorns men’s golf team finished a tournament atop the leaderboard, as it completed a 16-stroke victory at the Jack Nicklaus Invitational in Dublin, Ohio, on Tuesday.

No. 3 Texas, entered the final round on Tuesday morning just one shot behind Ohio State for first place among the 12-team field. The Longhorns recorded an impressive combined score of 287 in the final round to claim a commanding event victory. They finished the two-day event with an overall score of 862 (-2), with the Buckeyes (878, +14) and Illinois (884, +20) finishing second and third, respectively.

Four of the five Longhorns golfers placed in the top 10 in individual scoring. Freshman Jordan Spieth, who shot a six shot under par 66 in the second round, tied for second overall with a cumulative score of 211 (-5) for the tournament. Only Thomas Pieters of Illinois, who recorded a 137 (-7), finished the tournament with a lower score.

Senior Dylan Frittelli, who was named Big 12 Conference Golfer of the Month for September, finished seventh overall with a score of 216 (E). Frittelli had placed second in each of the Longhorns’ first two tournaments of 2011, and his consistency so far this season has impressed Texas head coach John Fields.

“Dylan set some major goals for himself this fall and has played extremely well against tough fields and challenging courses,” Fields said. “The season’s not over, and neither are the goals he wants to accomplish. He’s off to an incredible start this year.”

In addition to Spieth and Frittelli, junior Julio Vegas finished eighth in the tournament with a score of 217 (+1), and sophomore Toni Hakula placed ninth with a 218 (+2). Senior Adam Wennerstrom was the only Longhorn to finish outside of the top 10, finishing 56th in the tournament with a score of 242 (+26).

With the victory, the Longhorns, who also finished in first place last week at the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate, won a tournament in back-to-back weeks for the first time since 2006. Following the tournament win, Fields was pleased with the performance of golfers.

“I’m really happy with our guys. We overcame some obstacles out here with Cody Gribble sustaining an injury before we began and Toni Hakula replacing him [in the lineup] to a slow start in the first round,” Fields said.

“However, we came back with a really solid second round — shooting a 12-under on Muirfield is an exceptional feat. Coming into the final round, against what was really another outstanding field, we kept our focus. For us to win tournaments named after legends like Jerry Pate and Jack Nicklaus is really special for this golf team.”

Texas will look to win its third consecutive tournament when it travels to Orlando for the Isleworth Collegiate Invitational from Oct. 23-25.