Big 12 Championships Preview: Men's Golf|
April 21, 2013
Texas Tech may have picked the perfect time to peak this spring.
The Red Raiders are coming off their best team performance of the season in second place at the Morris Williams Invitational in Austin - just five shots back of defending national champion Texas - while senior Finley Ewing IV is coming off his first career win as a medalist after five, top five finishes this season.
A repeat performance from Ewing at this week's Big 12 Championship in Kansas could mean more hardware for the Red Raiders and help push them with the right momentum into its 12th consecutive NCAA Regional Tournament.
"For us to play that way leading into conference is certainly a good sign - especially in a game like golf where you want to take some positive energy and some good memories into the week," Tech head coach Greg Sands said. "You have to play good at the right time and hope for a few breaks in this game and we feel like we can win if we play our best."
The Red Raiders will take aim at the Big 12 Championship on Monday - Wednesday at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan., where the course setup and weather will test all 10 teams.
Prairie Dunes (6,759 - Par 70) has hosted numerous national tournaments including the U.S. Senior Open (2006), U.S. Women's Open (2002) and U.S. Men's Mid-Amateur (1995). The course has rolling hills and a links-style fashion very similar to those found overseas in Scotland and even has the native grass and taller rough just outside the fairways to make stray shots even tougher.
Add in high winds, a 50-percent chance of rain and temperatures dropping into the lower thirties on Tuesday for another level of difficulty - but one that could help out Tech, who is used to the constant temperature and wind changes.
"It's something we are used to. We have a lot of wind and a lot of weather changes," Sands said. "We're looking forward to that. Not everyone handles that well and we'll need to handle that really well for us to play good. The toughest team will save the most shots and have a chance to win, so we've got to do that."
Sands also likes the way Ewing is playing lately after notching his first win this past week with a 7-under-par, 206 total that included a 3-under, 68 on the final day. Ewing (72.1 avg.) now has six, top five finishes this spring with seven rounds under 70 and 11 rounds under par.
"I had been really close this year a bunch and to finally get the win at a place like UT Golf Club really means a lot," Ewing said. "I feel really good about my whole game right now ... I played this course about 10 years ago and I remember there's a huge premium on hitting the fairway and driving it straight and I think we do that well as a team. I don't know if we are the favorites going in, but I really like our chances."
Tech will tee off at 8:40 a.m. CST on Monday in the first round. Fans can follow along at www.golfstat.com and check back at www.texastech.com each day for full recaps, interviews and highlights.