The defending national champion Oklahoma Sooners faced a tough task this week at Southern Hills in Tulsa, where Ryan Hybl’s team was up against the likes of No. 1 Oklahoma State, No. 10 Baylor and No. 14 Texas in the 2018 Big 12 Championship. However, the No. 3 Sooners (+19) began postseason play in style with an eight-stroke victory over the Cowboys and Longhorns (+27), earning the program’s first Big 12 title since 2006.
The Sooners were led by Grant Hirschman, who finished tied for first individually with a 72-hole score of 283 (+3) and was joined atop the leaderboard by recent Masters participant Doug Ghim of Texas, Jeremy Gandon of Kansas State and Kristoffer Ventura of Oklahoma State. Brad Dalke and Quade Cummins each finished tied for seventh at +6, while Blaine Hale (T14, +9) and Rylee Rynerston (T26, +13) did well enough to keep the Sooners ahead comfortably. Hale was the star of the day for OU, shooting an even-par 70 during a blustery final round at one of the tougher tracks in golf.
Four of Oklahoma’s five starters were major contributors during last season’s national championship run, and there’s no doubt that that kind of experience benefitted them in an important tournament such as this. They’ll look to keep the momentum going and defend their title next month during the Norman Regional (May 14-16) and NCAA Championships (May 25-30). Oklahoma State will likely be the betting favorite at Karsten Creek in Stillwater (the site of the NCAA Championships), but these OU golfers have nerves of steel and can’t be counted out if the make it to match play.