Cole Hammer finishes first at Big 12 Championships, Texas men’s golf finishes third as team

Stephen Wagner

Texas men’s golf junior Pierceson Coody may have stolen the spotlight this spring season, but junior Cole Hammer will bring the Big 12 conference’s first-place individual medal back to Austin.

Hammer’s 4-under 276 topped Oklahoma redshirt senior Quade Cummins by a single stroke to secure his first individual conference title and the school’s 40th individual conference championship. Pierceson finished tied for sixth, and sophomore Mason Nome and junior Parker Coody tied for tenth. Sophomore Travis Vick tied for 16th as the team finished third overall with an 11-over performance this week.

Hammer’s championship performance comes as somewhat of a surprise, considering that Pierceson, the No. 1 amateur golfer in the world, entered the three-day tournament at the Prairie Dunes Golf Club in Hutchinson, Kansas, with four top-three finishes this spring. He also finished first as an individual at the George Hannon Invitational in March.

But Pierceson wasn’t his usual standout self in the final round Wednesday afternoon.

Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State tied for first after the second round Tuesday after the Longhorns shot a spectacular 8-under 272 to jump from third place to first. The Cowboys only managed a 2-under 278 while the Sooners shot 1-under 279, giving Texas a ripe opportunity to take command of the tournament.

And midway through the final round, it seemed the Longhorns were poised to capture the title.

Hammer hit three straight birdies from the sixth to eighth holes, then again at the 10th, 13th and 17th to finish 3-under 67 and put the Longhorns in a first-place tie with Oklahoma halfway through the third round. Pierceson, right on Hammer’s heel, was 1-under after the 71st hole.

But the 72nd hole had different plans for him.

The junior triple bogeyed on the 72nd hole, dropping himself into sixth place at 2-over and the team down to third, just two strokes behind first-place Oklahoma State and one stroke behind the second-place Sooners. Less than an hour later, the Cowboys, two short strokes ahead of the Longhorns, raised their 11th Big 12 championship trophy.

However, the season isn’t over yet for Texas.

The Longhorns will compete in the NCAA Regionals from May 17-May 19 and the NCAA Championships in late May and early June. The 2021 NCAA Selection Show is slated for May 5 at 1 p.m. on the Golf Channel.