Coody clinches his first collegiate victory, leads Longhorns to 2nd place finish

Cameron Parker

Parker Coody stood anxiously awaiting as his tee shot on the seventh hole sailed far right of the fairway bunkers that lined the cart path at the Southern Highlands Golf Club. It wasn’t out of play, but it stuck in the branch of a tree. 

Coody began the day seven shots behind the leader Yuxin Lin, but as he awaited the rules official, he now sat eight shots back.

Nearly 15 minutes had passed before the rules official made his way to a frustrated Coody. He took an unplayable — a one-stroke penalty — and 18 minutes after his first shot, Coody finally played his third. His long iron from the mulch landed softly on the green, outside of 30-feet from the hole. 

A two-putt bogey would be a solid result, par would be improbable. Coody took the less likely route, sinking the putt and letting out a sigh of relief. It was the type of a hole that could derail a round, but also one that could jump-start it.

From there on, Coody birdied six out of the remaining 11 holes to finish with a 67 on the day. Lin, who began at 10 under-par, shot two over par and ended the round tied with Coody, forcing a sudden-death playoff. Lin bogeyed the first playoff hole. Then Coody parred, winning the Southern Highlands Collegiate. 

“It means a lot to be able to come back from so far behind,” Coody told Texas Sports. “(It) just gives me the confidence to know I can do it again.”

While it was Coody’s first collegiate victory, it also earned him an exemption into his first PGA Tour event at this year’s Shriners Hospital for Children Open. 

“The PGA Tour exemption is awesome,” Coody said. “The goal is to play on the PGA tour, and this is a great opportunity to play against the best in the world.”

After being in second-place for most of the tournament, Texas closed the gap on Southern California from a nine-stroke deficit to one. But as the Longhorns made the turn, they started to falter while Texas Tech charged up the leaderboard. Coody’s birdie on the final hole not only propelled him to first place, it also sealed a runner-up finish for the Longhorns.

“We came up a couple shots short which hurts since we did the same thing in Hawaii,” Coody said. “Still only momentum to build off going into the Valspar.”

In their last four starts, Texas has won two tournaments while placing second twice and will head to Florida to compete in the Valspar Collegiate later this month. Only two tournaments remain this season before the Big 12 Championships, with the Longhorns coming into form at the perfect time.