Travis Vick comes up just short, No. 9 Longhorns begin spring season with 8th place finish at Southwestern Invitational

Ana Sofia Meyer, Sports Reporter

At the first tournament back on the course, No. 9 Texas men’s golf struggled with consistency after a tough final round of play. The team finished eighth overall, finishing just under unranked UCLA with a score of 22-over par at the Southwestern Invitational in Westlake Village, California, home course for No. 7 contender Pepperdine. 

Things were looking up for the Longhorns after the first round, with two golfers in the hunt for the lead. Senior Cole Hammer closed out the first day of competition with an eagle and seven birdies to his name, leaving him tied for third with SMU’s Nathan Petronzio. 

Junior Travis Vick followed with a solid performance, consisting of four birdies and a 2-under finish for seventh place. Freshman Alejandro Gonzales carded an eagle and a birdie in his first tournament in the Texas lineup. Juniors Mason Nome and Will Thomson clocked in at 38th and 56th in the individual standings, with 3-over-par and 7-over-par finishes, respectively. 

The first 18 holes kept the Longhorns in contention for the lead, putting them just two strokes under Pepperdine and one stroke under UCLA.

During the second round of play, Vick shot up the leaderboard, stunning his competition with two eagles and five birdies for a third place finish behind tied first place contenders: Georgia’s Trent Phillips and UCLA’s Devon Bling. 

Despite Vick’s remarkable performance, the Longhorns fell to seventh place after some struggles from the rest of the lineup. Overall the team carded 18 bogeys, five double bogeys and two triple bogeys in the second round, compared to only 16 birdies for the day. 

Hammer struggled to maintain his play through the second day of competition, sliding down the leaderboard to 16th after carding a 3-over-par finish. Nome, however, improved with a 2-over-par finish and four birdies for the day. 

In spite of his surge for the lead, Vick’s hopes were dashed in the final 18 holes after a back-and-forth struggle between the top five contenders: David Puig and Cameron Sisk of Arizona State, Michael Brennan of Wake Forest, Derek Hitchner of Pepperdine and the Texas golfer, who posted his poorest performance of the tournament, 2-over par, for the day. 

The Southwestern Invitational tournament title went to David Puig, a junior from La Garriga, Spain. Puig is the first-ever back-to-back winner of the invitational and successfully led his team to two new tournament records with a commanding finish of 30-under par, 13 strokes over host team Pepperdine. The no. 3 Sun Devils notched a record-setting ninth Southwestern Invitational win. 

The Longhorns will be back in action Feb. 3-5 at the Amer Ari Invitational in Waimea, Hawaii.