Texas faces off against Big 12 rivals and other top contenders in Fort Worth

Payne Williams

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared as part of the October 1 flipbook.

A proven Texas roster with high expectations looks towards elite status and a top finish at the upcoming Colonial Collegiate Invitational next week.

Texas’ third invitational of the season will take place at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, and head coach John Fields has embraced the expectations set for the team.

“It’s justifiable to say we’re one of the best teams in the nation,” Fields said. “Now it’s time to (prove) that.”

The 54-hole invitational hosted by TCU will comprise 36-holes Monday starting at 8:30 a.m. and 18 holes Tuesday starting at 8 a.m. The Longhorns will play a practice round in Fort Worth on Sunday. Texas is coming off a good start to its season with a second-place finish at the Maridoe Collegiate Invitational and seventh place in the Fighting Illini Invitational.

Texas returned three seniors from last year’s squad for the invitational, including senior twin brothers Pierceson and Parker Coody, and two juniors who all have extensive amateur and professional experience.

Last year, Texas took second at the Colonial Collegiate Invitational behind strong performances from the Coody brothers and junior Travis Vick. The Longhorns will look to replicate their previous success in Fort Worth behind proven returning talent.

Seniors Pierceson and Cole Hammer both competed in the 2021 U.S. Open Championship, and Coody placed first in the 2020 Western Amateur Championship. Vick, also competing at Colonial, advanced to the semifinals at the 2021 U.S. Amateur Championship. Parker and junior Mason Nome both also competed in the 2021 U.S. Amateur Championship.

The experienced Texas team has fielded high expectations from fans, but no one is more confident in the team than Fields.

“There’s probably no team in America that has the guys that we have,” Fields said.

Fields laid out the team’s biggest focus heading into Colonial Country Club, but reaffirmed his message for his team to remember to have fun in the face of high expectations.

“They’ve got to get really good at playing one shot at a time and being at their best for that one particular moment,” Fields said. “In the meantime, they’ve got to have a lot of fun.”

Competing in the invitational for the Big 12 are No. 4 Texas, No. 1 Oklahoma State, No. 2 Oklahoma, Baylor and TCU. The Pac-12 will field No. 19 Stanford, Oregon, USC, San Diego State and Oregon State, tied with the Big 12 for most schools competing from one conference.

No. 10 Vanderbilt, No. 13 Georgia and No. 20 Florida will represent the SEC, with No. 7 Clemson and No. 17 Wake Forest set to represent the Atlantic Coast Conference. No. 3 Pepperdine will be the invitational’s only non-Power Five contender.

Texas’ biggest threat out of the Big 12 at the invitational hails from across the Red River with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Redshirt senior Chris Gotterup of Oklahoma tied for third at Maridoe in September and carried the Sooners to a first-place finish, barely edging out Texas by one stroke. Oklahoma State also finished third at the Fighting Illini Invitational behind an impressive one-under performance from junior Brian Stark.

Fields emphasized that relentless competition and consistency will put the team at the elite status amongst a competitive Big 12 conference and field at next week’s invitational.

“We never stop competing,” said Fields. “We want to create the belief in our opponents that we’re the team to beat.”

The Colonial Collegiate Invitational won’t be televised or streamed, but admission is free and spectators are welcome. Live scoring will also be available at GolfStat.com.