NORMAN, Okla. -- The University of Oklahoma men’s golf team is ranked No. 23 in the Golf World/Nike Golf 2013-14 Division I men’s preseason coaches’ poll, announced Wednesday.
OU is one of four Big 12 squads ranked in the top 25, joining Texas, Oklahoma State and TCU. Defending national champion Alabama tops the poll while California, Texas, Georgia Tech and Washington complete the top five.
“We are really excited for the new year,” OU head coach Ryan Hybl said. “Our guys are working extremely hard getting ready to go to our first event in two weeks. Our schedule is once again really good this year, and we are playing tough courses, and that is what helps prepare us the most for postseason.”
The Sooners start the season Sunday, Sept. 15 as they travel to Burlington, Iowa, for the Golfweek Challenge. Other tournaments of the fall include the Jack Nicklaus Invitational, Erin Hills Intercollegiate and Royal Oaks Intercollegiate.
OU lost two seniors (Abraham Ancer and Will Kropp) from last year’s team, but Hybl said this year’s squad will be deep. Two returners are senior Michael Schoolcraft and sophomore Beau Titsworth, who competed in all of OU’s tournaments in 2012-13.
“We will have a lot of depth this year providing great competition, but we will need some guys to really step up and take ownership in the top of the lineup,” Hybl explained. “We lost two really solid seniors, and the time is here for our youth to kick in and for certain players to take on a bigger role.”
Last season, the Sooners qualified for their third straight NCAA Championships. OU finished 11th nationally for the second year in a row after posting a three-round 283 (+3) at the Capital City Club in Atlanta, Ga., in May. Competing in 13 team events in 2012-13, OU claimed top-10 showings nine times and top-five finishes in six events, including a victory at the UTSA/Oak Hills Invitational in February.
Golf World/Nike Golf Division I Men’s Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1. Alabama (10)
2. California (9)
3. Texas (1)
4. Georgia Tech
8. Oklahoma State
10. New Mexico
13. Florida State
19. Texas A&M
22. Kent State
24. North Florida