Texas men’s golf collapse after leading first two rounds, finish third at Aggie Invitational

Stephen Wagner

Traditions Golf Club in College Station can’t compare to the greens at Augusta National Golf Club. But on Masters Sunday, the Aggie Invitational carried its own magic, even though it ended up cursing the Longhorns.

After holding a three-stroke lead through the first two rounds, Texas shot 5-over par in the final round of the tournament to finish third with a 4-over 868 team score, two strokes behind winners Oklahoma and Texas A&M. And much like their last meet in Florida early last week, the Longhorns had more than enough chances to secure their second victory of the spring.

Friday’s first round was arguably Texas’ best team round of the season, shooting 5-under as a team while junior Pierceson Coody continued his hot streak. Coody shot an incredible 6-under 66 the first day of the tournament, the best individual score of any round over the three-day tournament, and led all golfers by a stroke.

Junior Cole Hammer, consistent with his performances for most of the season, wasn’t far behind.

Hammer tied for fifth after the first day at 2-under, three strokes ahead of fellow Longhorn senior Christoffer Bring. Sophomore Mason Nome shot 2-over to round out the Longhorns in the top 25, and Texas led by seven strokes after the first day.

However, the warning signs became evident as the meet continued on the second day. Texas’ lead slipped from seven strokes to three strokes as second-place Oklahoma stayed consistent at 2-over and the Longhorns fell to 1-under. Coody slipped too, falling into a tie for second after shooting 3-over in the second round.

But the rest of the team managed to find its stroke. Literally.

Sophomore Travis Vick had a team-best 1-under in difficult conditions to bring all five Longhorns into the top 25 at the end of the second day as Texas held onto a precarious three-stroke lead.

The third day couldn’t have gone worse for the Longhorns.

Coody’s 2-under 70 and Hammer’s 2-over 74 were the only bright spots in an otherwise difficult day as the junior duo finished second and tied for sixth, respectively. Bring, Nome and Vick all slipped out of the top 25 after each shooting at least 2-over and pushed Texas to third as a team, completing its meltdown after a promising first two rounds.

However, this isn’t the end for the Longhorns.

No. 7-ranked Texas will have a two-week break to prepare for postseason play at the Big 12 Championships in Hutchinson, Kansas, beginning April 26. The Longhorns will then have an additional three weeks before the NCAA Regional Championships, which start May 17.