Texas Tech Scorches Field in Final Round
April 16, 2006
LUBBOCK, Texas - Entering the final round 15 shots back in second place, the No. 16-ranked Texas Tech men's golf team turned on the afterburners and shot a blistering 276 in the final round to pass host Texas A&M and take the team title at the Aggie Invitational in Bryan, Texas, Sunday afternoon. The round was the only one recorded in the 270s during the 54-hole tournament at Traditions Golf Club (par 72, 7,235 yards).
Tech's final round total was seven shots better than Sunday's next best round, a 283 by second-ranked Oklahoma State. The Cowboys finished the tournament in third place and nine shots off of Tech's three-round total of 868. Texas A&M, the ninth-ranked team in the country, finished a shot back of the Red Raiders.
"I think this is the best single-round performance of the year," Tech head coach Greg Sands said. "We were more consistent at the Morris Williams (2nd place, April 3-4 in Austin), although we didn't win. Definitely to win in this field was a great performance. It was the most dramatic and best final round we have played in my six years as head coach.
"We talked last night about `we can still do this thing, but it's going to take something special,'" Sands added. "Ultimately we knew we had beat each guy by four strokes to erase the deficit. Jake and Oscar went bogeyless on the day and I think Andrew only had two. It was just a team effort. We didn't talk too much about individual performances; we just talked about shooting as low as we can as a team."
Leading the charge for Texas Tech was junior sensation Oscar Floren, who entered the final round in a second-place tie. Floren, the 13th-ranked player in the country, won his second event in four tournaments after firing a 6-under 66 Sunday to finish at -7 for the event. His three-day 209 was three shots better than Baylor's Ryan Baca, the country's fifth-ranked player, and seven shots ahead of the country's top-ranked player, Oklahoma State's Pablo Martin, who finished fourth.
Led by Floren, three Red Raider golfers shot under par in the final round, including top 10 finalists Andrew Dresser and Jake Younan-Wise. Dresser finished the tournament with a 1-over 217, but shot a 4-under 68 Sunday, while Younan-Wise also shot a 4-under 68 Sunday to finish the event with a 4-over 220. Santiago Rivas and Garrett Merrill finished in 21st-place and 44th-place ties, respectively.
Rounding out the top five in the team standings were No. 40 Kent State (883) and No. 39 SMU (899). No. 36 New Mexico (909) and No. 12 Baylor (909) tied in sixth place, while No. 75 Kansas State (916) and No. 41 Oklahoma (916) tied for eighth. No. 52 Colorado (924) finished alone in 10th place as No. 54 Michigan State (928) and No. 46 Augusta State (928) rounded out the team standings in an 11th-place tie.
Sunday's win is Tech's second of the year and seventh top five finish. The Big 12-laden Aggie Invitational served as a precursor for the Big 12 Championships in Tulsa, Okla., in which the Red Raiders next compete April 25-26.
"This win gives us some momentum, and let's us know, `hey, we can play with anyone in the country,'" Sands said. "I've always told the team that, and I think we started believing it at the Morris Williams. This will give us a great deal of confidence heading into the Big 12 tournament and hopefully lead us to a conference championship."
For complete tournament results and standings, log-on to http://www.golfstatresults.com//public/leaderboards/team/static/team676.html.