A final round rally was not enough to propel the Longhorns to a first place finish on Sunday. Texas finished in second place at the Big 12 Conference Championship tournament.
No. 1 Texas, which entered the last day nine shots back of No. 15 Texas A&M, led the field with a 3-over-291 on the last day of the tournament, but an overall score of 16-over-1168 left the Longhorns in second place, three shots behind the event-winning Aggies.
The Longhorns made a strong push on the back nine of the final round, but they struggled on the final hole and allowed the Aggies to claim victory.
The Longhorns entered the championship as the favorite among the 10-team field. Texas, however, was not able to overcome the consistency of the Aggies, who recorded scores between 286 and 297 in each of the four rounds.
The Longhorns had three players finish in the top-10 over the weekend, with senior Dylan Frittelli leading the way with an even score of 288, which was good for a tie for third place overall among individuals. Frittelli held a three-stroke lead through 15 holes before double-bogeying the 16th hole and triple-bogeying the final hole.
Freshman Jordan Spieth was right behind Frittelli with a 1-over-289, good for fifth place and junior Julio Vegas finished eighth by shooting a 5-over 293.
Senior Alex Moon shot a 13-over-301 to finish tied for 20th, and sophomore Toni Hakula tied for 33rd after recording a score of 19-over-307.
Following the tournament, Texas head coach John Fields was proud of the effort of his players but admitted that their struggles at the end would not sit well with the team.
“The character of this Texas team showed, for sure,” Fields said. “They came back each of the last three days. We have a lot to build on from that. This is going to sting for a while, maybe a year, but we’ll come back. Three shots short stings really bad.”
Frittelli seconded these sentiments, and he said that Fields remained positive and supportive of the Texas golfers following the tournament.
“He told us to pick our heads up,” Frittelli said. “We played a great tournament and did a lot of things well this week. We came from quite a few shots down to take the lead today, and we did a lot of great things out there.”
Despite finishing better than eight of the 10 teams that competed in the Big 12 Conference championship, the Longhorns golfers were not satisfied with their inability to claim the top spot. Spieth believed that they failed to reach their potential in the tournament and that it cost them the conference title.
“We were all real excited to come here, but we didn’t play well,” Spieth said. “We didn’t play to our capability. We knew we were the favorites, everyone else knew we were the favorites, and we didn’t let that get to us. We dug ourselves a hole at beginning and had to dig ourselves out the rest of the weekend.”
Printed on Monday, April 30, 2012 as: UT unable to surpass Aggies at conference championship