Sept. 25, 2009
NORMAN, Okla. -- The OU men's golf squad opens the 2009-10 season under first year head coach Ryan Hybl at the Kansas Invitational, held Sept. 28-29, at the par-72 Alvamar Golf Course in Lawrence, Kan.
"Our guys are ready to get out on the course and open the season ," said Hybl. "This week's field includes a few conference opponents, as well as some other talented teams and we are excited to see where we stack up. I feel that some of the guys have started playing some good golf leading up to this event in our qualifying rounds and we hope that continues over to the tournament."
The Oklahoma lineup includes senior Ben Blundell, junior's Liam Logan and Chris Wilson, sophomore Riley Pumphrey and freshman Nathan Chambers. Fellow frosh Davis Lee will also make the trip to Lawrence, competing as an individual.
Kansas Invitational | Sept. 28-29, 2009
ABOUT THE TOURNAMENT
Hosted by the University of Kansas, the 54-hole event also features Idaho, Illinois State, Houston, Louisiana, Marquette, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma City University, Seton Hall, South Dakota, UMKC and Western Kentucky. The 14-team field will play 36 holes on Monday and a final 18 on Tuesday morning.
Defending champion California-Davis and 2008 medalist Austin Graham (UC-Davis) are not in this week's field.
ABOUT THE COURSE | Scorecard
The par-72, 7,058-yard Alvamar Country Club, which includes the Sunflower and Hidden Valley nines, was designed by Mel Anderson. Hidden Valley, the original nine, was built in 1973 while the Sunflower nine was completed in 1978. The architectural style is notably different than surrounding courses as the naturally wooded, steeply sloped, Eastern Kansas terrain dictated more of a target-oriented venue. Smaller, more undulating greens will greet the players that have successfully navigated the narrow fairway corridors and evaded the multitude of water hazards.
The greens were converted to bentgrass in 1995, while the tees and fairways and zoysiagrass. The rough at Alvamar Country Club is a combination of bluegrass, tall fescue and zoysia.
SCOUTING THE FIELD
No teams in this week's field are ranked or receiving votes in the latest Golf World/Nike Golf coaches poll. Last season, the Sooners held a 5-2 head-to-head record against team's in this week's field from the same region as OU (Houston, Illinois State, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska), including a +81 overall stroke differential.
SOONERS IN RECENT SEASON OPENERS
2008-09: Seventh at the Aldila Scenic City Invitational in Chattanooga, Tenn. | 289-287-284 (860, -4)
2007-08: Third at the Aldila Scenic City Invitational in Chattanooga, Tenn. | 277-286-284 (847, -5)
2006-07: 12th at the Fighting Illini Invitational in Olympia Fields, Ill. | 309-300-310 (919, +79)
2005-06: 13th at the Ridges Intercollegiate in Johnson City, Tenn. | 307-290-298 (895, +31)
2004-05: Fourth at the Ridges Intercollegiate in Johnson City, Tenn. | 290-282-298 (870, +6)
IT'S BEEN AWHILE
This week marks just the second time the Sooners have played in the Kansas Invitational. The only other time OU played in the event was in 1983, when the team placed third.
A BLEND OF OLD AND NEW
OU's lineup for the Kansas Invitational includes at least one golfer from each year classification. Ryan Hybl stated from the start that each golfer was starting out with a blank slate and that is evident in this week's roster. Freshmen Nathan Chambers and Davis Lee are making their collegiate debut's, while Ben Blundell and Liam Logan have been mainstays in the Sooner lineup during their time in the Crimson and Cream. Sophomore Riley Pumphrey had a breakout redshirt-freshman campaign a year ago that included four top-25 finishes in 10 starts, while Chris Wilson found a spot in the lineup on seven occasions last season after transferring from Baker University.
NEW IN 2009
Along with Chambers, a talented recruiting class joins this year's returners including Nathan Hughes and Davis Lee. Chambers won the U.S. Junior Amateur Sectional Qualifying at Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club in 2007, while Hughes captured the 2009 Oklahoma 6A state title last spring. A full time resident at the Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy for the last five years, Lee recorded 16 top-3 finishes including three wins on the International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) during his prep career.
The other newcomer is Sam Braver, who will redshirt the 2009-10 season after transferring from South Carolina. Braver competed in six tournaments as a true freshman last season for South Carolina, including the SEC Championship, NCAA Southeast Regional and the NCAA Championships.
MORE NEW FACES
Ryan Hybl (pictured left), one of the most decorated golfers in University of Georgia history, took the reins of the Oklahoma golf program in June. Hybl lettered from 2001-04, twice garnering All-America and All-SEC honors. He concluded his career with a scoring average of 72.7 and 13 top-10 finishes. He served as the team captain during his junior and senior seasons. Joining Hybl is first-year assistant coach Blake Smart. Smart had been the head coach at Kennesaw State the previous three seasons, quickly turning the Owls into one of the top golf programs in the Atlantic Sun Conference.
SOONERS KICK OFF SEASON WITH TEAM RETREAT
The official start of the 2009-10 NCAA golf season came on Aug. 28, and the OU squad wasted no time getting back to the links. The Sooners played 72 holes during a three-day trip at The Territory Golf and Country Club in Duncan, Okla.
"The weekend was a great opportunity for our players and coaching staff to bond and begin to get to know each other," said Hybl. "The camaraderie was outstanding and I think the group is excited about getting the season underway. This trip also gave us an excellent opportunity to evaluate our current team members and see where we stand. Overall, I am pleased with the level of play that occurred and the quality individuals that make up this squad."
Every current Sooner that has played at least two years for the squad has posted a round of 69 or better during their first two complete seasons in the crimson and cream. Blundell (65), Pumphrey (65) and Sirman (69) all shot their career low during their freshman campaign, while Durbin (64), Rody (66) and Logan (67) were in their sophomore season.
LOOKING BACK AT THE NCAA CHAMPS
2009 marks the 20th anniversary of the 1989 NCAA Champion Oklahoma men's golf squad. Doug Martin and Ricky Bell tied for second in the individual standings, leading the Sooners to the team title. Members of that squad and other OU golf alumni will be back in town November 13-14 for the Sooner Open, a special golf fundraiser at the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club on Friday, followed by the OU vs. Texas A&M football game on Saturday.
OU returns to the links Oct. 11-13, at the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate, hosted by Alabama. The field includes four squads ranked in top 25 of the latest Golf World/Nike Golf (No. 4 Alabama, No. 11 Arkansas, No. 13 UNLV and No. 22 Texas), while Auburn and SMU are both receiving votes in the poll.