Nov. 8, 2009
SAN MARTIN, Calif. -- The University of Oklahoma men’s golf squad closes its fall season at the fifth annual CordeValle Collegiate Championship, held Nov. 8-11, at the CordeValle Resort in San Martin, Calif.
The event was renamed this season to the Gifford Collegiate Championship at CordeValle to honor its long-time sponsor and Bay Area philanthropist Jack Gifford. The high-profile field includes three of the past four NCAA Champions (UCLA – 2008, Stanford – 2007 and Oklahoma State – 2006).
Rounding out the 14-team field is Arizona, Augusta State, Charlotte, Colorado, Duke, Lamar, Long Beach State, Northwestern, Ohio State and USC.
“We’re looking to put together three solid rounds of golf to end the fall season with some momentum we can build off for next spring,” said head coach Ryan Hybl. “It will certainly be a test, as this is one of the strongest fields we will see all season.”
OU’s lineup includes Ben Blundell, Nathan Chambers, Tyler Rody, Ryan Sirman, Cole Wiederkehr and Chris Wilson.
Blundell has played in each of the Sooners previous three fall events, carding OU’s lone top-10 individual finish on the season at the Kansas Invitational, where the Rowlett, Texas, native placed sixth in leading the Sooners to the team title.
Chambers and Wilson are competing in their third event of the fall slate, while Rody, Sirman and Wiederkehr all have one previous start this fall.
ABOUT THE TOURNAMENT
The 54-hole event features a single round each day with a 10:30 a.m. (CT) start each morning. Teams will include six players with the five low scores counting towards the team total. Each tee time features two players from their respective schools, as the Sooners are paired with Northwestern on Monday.
Live scoring is available at http://golfstatresults.com/public/index.cfm?tournament_id=1879
ABOUT THE COURSE
Nestled in the countryside of San Martin, Calif., just 30 minutes south of San Jose, CordeValle features a 260-acre, 18-hole championship golf course designed by the legendary Robert Trent Jones, Jr. The California golf resort has garnered some of America's most prestigious golf recognition in 2007 and 2008 including:
Condé Nast Traveler: Top 100 Golf Resorts Worldwide, No. 13
Golf Digest: Best State Golf Course
Gary Gaylean's The Golf Letter: Best Golf Resorts in the World
Golfweek: America's Best Resort Golf Courses
Golf Digest Index: America's 50 Best Golf Course, No. 14
Golf Magazine: Top 100 Courses You Can Play
Featuring unobstructed views of radiant natural beauty with dramatic contours and elevation changes, this 18-hole, 7,169-yard, par 72 golf course makes innovative use of Northern California's hillsides, canyons and broad meadows.
* Course description provided by CordeValle Resort. Website
LAST TIME AT THE EVENT
The Sooners placed 17th at the 2006 CordeValle Collegiate in a tough field that included five teams ranked in the Golfstat Top 10. Blundell fired a then-course record 65 in the opening round and closed the event in 12th, the lone OU golfer in red figures at -5.
SOONERS FINISH STRONG
The Sooners fired a final-round 286 (+2) at the Baylor Intercollegiate, their lowest round of the 54-hole event, but couldn’t overcome a tournament-opening 305 (+21). Oklahoma played its final 36 holes at +10.
“We finally settled down and played some decent golf after getting off to a rough start,” said Hybl. “We can’t put ourselves in an early hole though against quality competition, which is something that we will have to improve upon as the season progresses. I thought we showed some glimpse of good golf in the second and third rounds, but weren’t consistent enough overall and it was too little too late after the way we opened up.”
Leading OU was the senior duo of Tyler Rody (74-74-68) and Ben Blundell (75-73-68), who both shared 14th. Both final rounds marked season lows for the pair.
Tyler Rody, Ryan Sirman and Cole Wiederkehr all made their season debut at the Baylor Intercollegiate. The tournament also marked Wiederkehr's collegiate debut, as the Tulsa, Okla., native redshirted last season. Rody tied for 14th in his first action since carding a 68 in the final round of the 2009 Big 12 Championship, while Sirman and Wiederkehr placed 52nd and 57th, respectively.
Through three events, the Sooners have already had 10 rounds completed by freshmen, paced by Chambers' four collegiate rounds.
RAIN, RAIN GO AWAY
OU placed 12th at the rain-shortened Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate at the Old Overton Club in Vestavia Hills, Ala., on Oct. 13. The tournament was shortened to 18 holes due to inclement weather that cancelled both rounds on the first day of the event.
SEASON LOW ROUND FOR RILEY
Bad conditions didn't prevent sophomore Riley Pumphrey from posting a good round in Alabama, as he shot a season-low 69 for a share of 11th at -1. Starting on the back nine, the Georgetown, Texas, product was even-par at the turn, erasing a bogey at the par-4 14th with a birdie at No. 18. Pumphrey made par on the first four holes on the front before reaching red figures with a birdie convert at the par-4 fifth hole. Pumphrey made par at his final four holes of the round, remaining at -1 for the tournament.
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.