It’s not every day golf’s elite roll through Austin. So fans shouldn’t be surprised if they catch Texas men’s golfers out at the WGC-Dell Match Play.
“Right now, I want our guys in class,” UT coach John Fields said with a laugh. “They’ll try to get out there. Some of them probably will.”
Oh, Fields’ Longhorns will definitely be out roaming Austin Country Club. Even All-Americans like Scottie Scheffler, Gavin Hall, Doug Ghim and the No. 1-ranked Beau Hossler want to see the world’s best.
“Yeah, I’m actually heading out there with Scottie,” Hall said. “I know Beau’s out there.”
If anyone deserves a fun weekend, it’s the Texas men. The Longhorns are stomping through their spring schedule, having won four of their last five tournaments.
By winning the Valspar tournament last weekend, Texas moved up to No. 1 in the latest Golfweek team rankings released Thursday.
So now, the Horns have the No. 1-ranked overall team and the top overall player. Two tournaments remain before the Big 12 championship in late April. But it’s awfully hard not to look ahead to the NCAA regionals in May and the national championship in Eugene, Ore.
Texas won its third Big 12 title last season and raced through the postseason, only to stumble against USC in the national quarterfinals. By all accounts, the Horns returned humbled and hungry.
“Each of these players is starting to feel it. They know,” Fields said. “We’re starting to get into the final portion of our season and there’s tremendous opportunity. This is what we’ve been building toward the whole year. But we can’t get ahead of ourselves.”
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Texas’ overall makeup is this bunch isn’t solely reliant on Hossler, a player many want to label a future PGA star.
Sure, Hossler’s won four individual tournaments this season with a 69.57 stroke average. He’s finished in the top eight of seven events. Look at his teammates, though.
Scheffler, last year’s Big 12 newcomer of the year, tied for 17th at the Arizona Intercollegiate in January. Hall and Hossler split the John Burns Intercollegiate title in February. Sophomore Taylor Funk tied for fifth at the Lamkin Classic earlier this month. Ghim tied his career low by finishing third at the Valspar.
Of the team’s top five players, 54.1 percent of their rounds this season have been at par or better. Hossler leads the way — 16 of his 21 rounds have been par or better — with a season-low 64 at the Nike Collegiate in October.
“We’re all pushing each other,” Hall said. “With Beau playing so well, we all want to put on our best performance and push each other. We’re very competitive. That’s what I see from this team. We’re getting better each week, and it shows in the results.”
Texas last won a national title in 2012. The driving force behind that championship, Jordan Spieth, is out roaming ACC this weekend. If watching Spieth gets his Horns a little more revved up, well, Fields might be OK with that.
“Absolutely,” Fields said, “but we’ve got a lot of work to do.”