Oct. 11, 2009
WEATHER UPDATE -- First day action at the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate has been postponed due to inclement weather. The 12 team field was scheduled to play 36 holes on Monday, but because of heavy rain the action never got underway. The tournament has been shortened to 18 holes with tee times beginning at 8 a.m. (CT) on Tuesday.
VESTAVIA HILLS, Ala. -- The University of Oklahoma men's golf squad hopes to ride the momentum of its season-opening win into this week's Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate, hosted by the University of Alabama on Oct. 12-13, at the Old Overton Club in Vestavia Hills, Ala.
The Sooners are coming off of a two-week layoff after erasing a two-shot overnight deficit to win the 14-team Kansas Invitational on Sept. 29, at Alvamar Country Club in Lawrence, Kan.
This week's Oklahoma lineup includes Ben Blundell, Nathan Chambers, Eric Durbin, Riley Pumphrey and Chris Wilson. Durbin is the lone golfer in this week's OU grouping that did not play at the Kansas Invitational. Blundell fired a final-round 70 for a share of sixth place in Lawrence, leading the Sooners to their first victory in a season opener since winning the 1999 Ridges Intercollegiate.
ABOUT THE TOURNAMENT
Hosted by the University of Alabama, the 18-hole event features five teams currently ranked in the Golfweek top 25 including ninth-ranked Texas, No. 13 SMU, No. 17 Arkansas, No. 18 UNLV and No. 25 Auburn. Rounding out the field is Alabama, East Tennessee State, Georgia State, Louisville, Mississippi State and UAB.
The 12-team field will play a 18 holes during the rain-shortened event on Tuesday morning.
Alabama defeated in-state rival Auburn by six shots for the 2008 Jerry Pate team title. Kelly Kraft of SMU earned medalist honors with a 54-hole score of 204 (-6).
Live scoring is available at: http://golfstatresults.com/public/index.cfm?tournament_id=1837
ABOUT THE COURSE
The par-71, 6,936-yard Old Overton Country Club was designed by famed course architect Tom Fazio and Jerry Pate. They layout takes full advantage of the rolling countryside, which was built on old mining land. The course was selected as “Best New Private Course” in America by Golf Digest in 1994.
BIG NAME WINNERS
Past individual medalists of the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate include the PGA Tour's David Toms (LSU, 1988), Tiger Woods (Stanford, 1994), Rory Sabbatini (Arizona, 1997), D.J. Trahan (Clemson, 2001) and Hunter Mahan (Oklahoma State, 2001).
Head coach Ryan Hybl became the first coach to win his inaugural event since the Gregg Grost-led Sooners won the 1986 U.S. – Japan Friendship Intercollegiate in Grost’s first year at the helm.
MORE ON THE WIN
Four of the five golfers in OU's lineup finished in the top 25 in the win, paced by Blundell's sixth-place finish. Pumphrey and Wilson tied for 14th, while Logan shared 22nd. Rounding out the OU team scoring was Chambers in a share of 64th in his collegiate debut.
Competing unattached, freshman Davis Lee tied for 20th in the medalist race after rounds of 76, 73 and 75.
QUOTING THE SEASON OPENING WIN
“What a great way to start off the year,” said Hybl. "We still didn’t play that great, but it’s good to see all of the hard work that we have put in the past couple of months pay off. This is really big for us. It’s a new era for Oklahoma golf and what better way than to start off with a win.”
SOONERS IN RECENT SEASON OPENERS
2009-10: First at the Kansas Invitational in Lawrence, Kan. | 291-300-295 (886, +22)
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)
NEW IN 2009
Along with Nathan 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.