NORMAN, Okla. The University of Oklahoma men’s golf team left Thursday for the Puerto Rico Classic in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico.
The tournament, the second on the spring schedule, begins Sunday, Feb. 27, with an 18-hole first round.
It is the second consecutive transoceanic voyage for the Sooners.
All-American and 2004 NCAA Freshman Anthony Kim (La Quinta, Calif.) leads the Sooners. Kim, with an 11th-place finish at the Taylor Made Waikoloa Intercollegiate, has top-15 finishes in every tournament this season except The Prestige, when he finished 22nd.
“We were disappointed with our results in Hawaii,” OU head coach Jim Ragan said, “and, thankfully, this year’s tournament is two weeks later, so we get time to rest and focus on areas to improve instead of coming home and packing again.”
The three-day, 54-hole event will be played on the Greg Norman-designed river course at the Westin Rio Mar Country Club. The 6,945-yard course rests along the Mameyes River and flows with the natural terrain of the island.
Joining Kim will be freshman Phillip Bryan (Mustang, Okla.), making his fourth career start, senior Craig Lurie (Houston, Texas), junior Shawn LaFontaine (Cobourg, Ontario) and junior Justin Fraley (Rowlett, Texas).
Fraley and LaFontaine, junior college transfers from Odessa (Texas) College, will be making their first and second starts, respectively, for Oklahoma.
This year’s field is littered with ranked teams, including (No. 1/2) Georgia, (2/3) Georgia Tech and (3/1) Oklahoma State, who hold the top three spots in both the GCAA/Bridgestone Coaches Poll and the GolfWeek/Sagarin Performance Rankings.
In 2004, OU placed third overall at Puerto Rico, three strokes behind the tournament champion Florida Gators, as the Sooners placed four individuals in the top 15.
“Last year we made a statement that we could play with the best teams in the country,” Ragan said. “We plan to pick up where we left off.”
Kim led the Sooners last year with a third-place finish. His three-round total of 210 was just three strokes behind the leader.
Tee time for the first round is 6 a.m. CST.