Texas survived to claim the Morris Williams Intercollegiate title with an eight-over third round, edging Texas Tech by two strokes to finish at 40-over for the tournament. After two rounds of damp, windy conditions Monday, the near pristine weather Tuesday was a welcome reprieve for all in attendance at the University of Texas golf club located in the scenic Northwest Austin suburb of Steiner Ranch.
This marks the first team victory for the Longhorns since the 2010 Puerto Rico Classic.
“We’ve been waiting for this, so we’re pretty happy about it,” said head coach John Fields. “It’s good to get that first one out of the way.”
The victory didn’t come without its share of drama, however. Texas saw an eight-stroke lead over Texas Tech slowly fade away as the final round drew to a close. The Red Raiders’ starters had already finished, so all they could do was sit and wait, hoping for a major meltdown from the Longhorns.
The Red Raiders had plenty to watch as Texas wound its way toward the 18th green.
Longhorn sophomore Johnathan Schnitzer bogeyed three out of the final four holes to finish at two-over for the day and 19-over for the event.
After Schnitzer came fellow sophomore Cody Gribble, who also bogeyed the 18th hole to finish the day at two-over, and 17-over for the tournament. The third Longhorn starter to finish was junior Dylan Frittelli. Frittelli carded five birdies in the final round but missed a par putt on 18 to drop yet another stroke to the Red Raiders. Frittelli, who finished tied for No. 16 overall, still put up the best final round for Texas at one-under.
With only two players left to finish, Texas’ lead had shrunk to five strokes.
Senior Bobby Hudson got off to another slow start in his final round but was able to finish without letting the lead get away. Hudson shot an eight-over third round and finished at 15-over. The final Longhorn to finish was sophomore Julio Vegas, who was at even-par in his final round until the 13th hole. It was then that Vegas bogeyed four of the last six holes, finishing the round at five-over. The Longhorns shaved three more strokes off their lead. Despite his final round, Vegas tied for third on the individual leaderboard at six-over.
When it was all said and done, the Longhorns were just relieved to get out of the final round alive.
Freshman Toni Hakula, who competed as an individual, fired another one-under in Tuesday’s round, to go with the one-under he shot in the opening round. Hakula finished at seven-over and tied for seventh individually. TCU’s Tom Hoge took top honors in the individual category, shooting a two-over for the tournament.
The Longhorns will hope to make winning a regular routine as they travel to College Station next to compete in the Aggie Invitational on April 16.