AUSTIN, Texas OU senior Nick Sheedy finished the 41st annual Morris Williams Intercollegiate at a career-best even-par as the men’s golf squad tied for ninth Tuesday in the rain-shortened 36-hole event held at the par 72, 6,906-yard Austin Country Club in Austin, Texas.
The Sooners carded rounds of 291 (+3) and 298 (+10) to finish at 13 over par. UNLV won the team event after firing a final-round 8-under-par 280, finishing six strokes ahead of second-place Texas A&M and Tulsa. A trio of players garnered medalist honors as Tulsa’s Ryan Henry, New Mexico’s Steve Saunders and Texas A&M’s Austin Schauer all finished 5 under for the event.
Entering the final round in fourth place out of the 14-team field that included No. 4 Oklahoma State, No. 8 UNLV, No. 9 BYU, No. 21 Texas and 23rd-ranked Tulsa, the Sooners jumped into a tie for second early in the final round thanks to a fast start from Sheedy and freshman Jesse Schutte.
Sheedy was 4 under through seven holes, birdying three of the first four holes and the par-5 seventh. A lone bogey at No. 9 gave the Burlington, Iowa, native a 3-under-par 33 heading to the back nine, placing him in a tie for sixth. Meanwhile, Shutte birdied the first but gave a stroke right back with a bogey at the par-3 second hole. The freshman responded, carding one of just five eagles for the entire tournament at the 521-yard par-5 third hole. Six pars later, Schutte had jumped into a tie for 12th midway through his final round.
After a pair of pars to start the back nine, Sheedy made back-to-back bogeys at No. 12 and 13. The Odessa College transfer bogeyed the 17th after three straight pars but rebounded with a birdie at the closing hole for a 1-under-par 71. Sheedy’s even-par finish placed him in a tie for 15th.
“Nick stepped up and played some outstanding golf this week,” said head coach Jim Ragan. “He made a couple mistakes on the back nine or otherwise he would of had a superb round. (Sheedy) has been working hard on his game and the results are starting to show.”
Schutte dropped from 2-under to 3-over after a double-bogey six at No. 12 and a seven at the par-4 13th. The Florence, Ore., product bogeyed the 14th and 16th holes but birdied the 17th and parred the 18th to finish with a 4-over-par 76 and in a tie for 42nd.
“Jesse does not play a boring round of golf,” added Ragan. “He makes a lot of birdies but also makes some high numbers. Sometimes it’s a race to see which one wins. It’s a maturity process in realizing what his limitations are and we are working on some things that should help him in the long run. He has all the intangibles, the ability to make a lot of birdies, so he has the hard part figured out.”
Senior J.J. Wood continued his solid play by carding his second consecutive 73. The Pepperdine transfer finished in a tie for 23rd after firing a 1-under-par 35 on the back nine. Wood bogeyed three of his first six holes but played the final 12 at 2 under.
After an opening-round even-par 72 on Monday, Phillip Bryan finished in a tie for 70th by shooting an 82. The current career round’s played leader for the Sooners bogeyed four of his first five holes to start the day. Bryan played his next eight holes at 1-under but then carded consecutive sevens to drop to +8 after 15 holes. After back-to-back pars, Bryan double-bogeyed the 18th to shoot 43 on the back nine.
Rounding out the OU scoring was Ben Blundell (Rowlett, Texas), who carded a final-round 6-over-par 78. After a 5-over-par 41 on the front nine, the freshman played his final nine holes in 1-over-par fashion with two bogeys and a birdie at the par-5 15th to join Bryan in a tie for 70th.
“We are making progress,” Ragan exclaimed. “We entered today’s round six shots out of the lead in fourth place, so the progress is starting to show. Unfortunately, today’s round showed that these guys have not entered the final round this year in this position. It’s a learning process and we are getting close.”
The Sooners have a week off before heading to West Lafayette, Ind., on April 7 to compete at the Boilermaker Invitational hosted by the Purdue.
Stay tuned to SoonerSports.com as the OU men’s golf squad continues its spring slate of tournaments.