ARDMORE, Okla. The University of Oklahoma men's golf team got off to a good start but struggled to produce the results it enjoyed on the back nine Saturday, finishing sixth at the 14th annual Perry Maxwell Invitaitonal at Dornick Hills Country Club today.
OU sophomore Anthony Kim finished fourth with 4-under 206. Kim shot his ninth consecutive round of par or better, but ended the day three strokes behind individual medalist Brendon Rose of Georgia.
“We didn’t have a great day today," OU head coach Jim Ragan said, "but I think the team knows it has to take its lumps once in a while. There are ups and downs, but we’ve been riding a wave of success to this point and we’ll keep going through the NCAA tournament.”
Oklahoma State marched down the 18th fairway knowing exactly how they needed to finisha birdie to tie, two to winand Tyler Leon and Alex Noren didn’t disappoint the gallery and a live television audience, sinking their putts to seal the Cowboys’ fourth consecutive victory at Dornick Hills Country Club.
“I’ve been doing this a long time,” Oklahoma State head coach Mike Holder said, “and this is the first time I’ve ever known what we needed to do entering the 18th hole.”
Using a proposed scoring system under which team scores were determined by the four lowest individual scores per hole, rather than at the end of the round, seven of the 11 teams entered Sunday’s final round with a chance to win the 14th annual Maxwell. However, it was the same old story as OSU captured its seventh tournament title with a 25-under 815, besting Augusta State by one shot.
“It’s a great tournament and we love being down here,” Holder continued. “There’s great fan supportI could count about 40 people in our gallery.
“I think the new format actual made us more aggressive. We hit so many drivers on this course. You wouldn’t do that in years past. We just thought that if we got as close as we could to the hole we would have more options. I just want to keep that same aggressive attitude in South Bend (Ind.) for the regional this week.”
Georgia’s Brendon Todd took individual medalist honors with a 7-under 203. Todd shot 71-67-65 over three rounds at his first competition at the tough Dornick Hills golf course.
“I played really well and felt good,” Todd said. “This course rewards smart play and that’s how I approached my play this weekend.
“I loved the new format and thought it was fun. Everybody’s in on every hole and that really keeps your teammates together throughout the round.”
Todd shot 14 birdies and dominated par-4 scoring, shooting 9 under.
Noren finished second, one stroke behind with a 6-under 205. The senior from Stockholm, Sweden, fired a tournament-record 63 over the final 18 holes.
“I really love this tournament and coming here at the end of every year,” Noren said. “I always play well here. I don’t know why.”
“None of us really had any idea about how well he was doing today, Holder said. “Two weeks ago Alex Noren was our fifth man and barely made the travel squad for the conference tournament. He finished runner-up there and runner-up here so he’s got a lot going for him into the NCAAs.
“I really think this format contributed to Alex shooting that low score. I don’t think any of us knew how low his score was, but because we knew the scores, Alex knew that he had to make birdies to help us out.”
Augusta State led most of the final round after counting four birdies on the par-5 6, had to watch its advantage slip away after counting bogeys on 15 and 17.
Georgia (823, -17) finished third, SMU (825, -15) and Tulsa tied for fourth, Oklahoma (827, -13) slipped from a share of the lead to sixth, Auburn (841, +1) placed seventh, Penn State (852, +12) placed eighth, Texas-Arlington (859, +19) placed ninth, Colorado (862, +22) placed 10th and Oklahoma City (866, +26) completed the field that had a number of teams with home-state players.
“I think there’s a lot of carry over from year to year,” Holder said. “Obviously, the experience players on our team know the lines and, if you’re a new player...your teammates can tell you where to aim. If there’s four people telling you where to lineup you kind of have to take their word for it.”
Tulsa’a Mitch Cohlmia finished third individually, shooting a 5-under 205. Kim was one stroke behind Cohlmia in fourth and SMU’s Scott Abbott finished one more back in fifth.
“The Maxwell is always enjoyable,” Oklahoma head coach Jim Ragan said, “and this community does a great job hosting this event. To have that type of finish was great for its prestige. I’m not a big fan of the scoring format, but I think it works for this tournament in particular."
Oklahoma competes at the NCAA Central Regional in South Bend, Ind., beginning Thursday, May 19.