Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Bohls: Texas golfers bag Arizona State for NCAA title, which has become par for the course

Kirk Bohls
Austin American-Statesman
  • Texas men golfers take down Arizona State 3-2 to claim a fourth national title and first since 2012.
  • Junior Travis Vick calmly hit a 25-foot putt within inches of cup on 18 for the clinching shot.
  • "They played some of the best, most outstanding golf I've seen out of them," said coach John Fields.

This is getting to be downright habit-forming.

That said, chalk up another national championship for Texas.

What, again?

On the heels of UT's men’s indoor track and field and women’s tennis and rowing crowns as well as individual tennis singles and doubles championships, John Fields’ Texas men’s golf team won its fourth national title and first since 2012 with a dramatic finish at the Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Wednesday evening.

How dramatic?

Try final hole of the match dramatic.

With two matches left and the Longhorns needing one more won hole in either to close out a tremendous Arizona State team that had already ousted No. 2 Oklahoma and defending national champion Pepperdine, Texas' Travis Vick calmly cozied up a 25-foot putt to gimme range on the 18th hole to clinch the match 1-up and a heart-throbbing 3-2 UT victory.

“Travis Vick, on that last putt, I was a little bit nervous,” Fields said Wednesday night. “He didn’t seem nervous at all.”

Vick watched intently as the ball trickled to within breathing distance of the pin, prompting Sun Devils senior Cameron Sisk to concede. Vick then tossed off his white bucket cap and raced toward his jubilant teammates and tried to chest-bump them all simultaneously.

Texas' men's golfers celebrate their win over Arizona State on Wednesday in the NCAA championship match at the Grayhawk Golf Club-Raptor Course in Scottsdale, Ariz. It was the fourth national title this year won by Texas athletic teams.

“They played some of the best, most outstanding golf that I’ve seen out of them,” Fields said. “And I think that’s just simply because the pressure really was on.”

Bohls: Texas' Ivan Melendez says he's chasing an Omaha trip, not home run history

Parker Coody was sensational, winning five of his first six holes in the final and brushing aside James Leow 6 and 5, and twin brother Pierceson finished off freshman Preston Summerhays 2 and 1 with a 3-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole, as he had done the day before in the semifinals to eliminate No. 1 Vanderbilt.

That left the Longhorns needing just a single point. While UT's Mason Nome battled David Puig wire to wire, he overshot the green on the 10th hole and finally fell on that first extra hole to a Sun Devils junior who'll be competing in the controversial LIV Invitational in Saudi Arabia next week. But Vick held steady.

“Arizona State fans were pretty brutal,” Vick said. “Clapping on our bad shots and stuff like that. It’s been such a long road, going through a lot of adversity as a team. We had a target on our back.”

Like Texas isn’t used to that.

The senior Coody brothers went 4-2 in the three matches. They and Vick never trailed in their matches Wednesday.

Cole Hammer was ultrasteady the last month but dropped his match 3-and-2 to ASU’s Mason Andersen, who won all three of his matches. That was a rare lapse by the Longhorns senior, who handily won his matches against Oklahoma State and Vanderbilt by 3 and 2 and 4 and 3 scores the day before.

“I was fortunate,” Parker Coody said. “I don’t think either of us really had our best stuff today, but it worked out.”

I’ll say.

Golden: Texas' national women's sports takeover couldn't have come at a better time

More: Texas baseball draws an Air Force rematch in NCAA regional

Travis Vick of Texas rushes to his teammates after defeating Cameron Sisk, right, of Arizona State to clinch the NCAA championship Wednesday.

While this didn’t quite require the same level of heroics as Dylan Frittelli’s magical, 30-foot putt at Riviera to give a talent-stuffed 2012 Longhorns team including Jordan Spieth its first title since Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite won back-to-back in 1971 and 1972, Vick’s theatrics did nicely.

Fields said his goodbyes to the Coody brothers and Hammer, three seniors who brought Texas one title and a runner-up finish in 2019.

“They’re three of the best golfers that have ever played at Texas,” Fields said. “I’m going to really miss them, and so is Texas. But they’re going to go out there and do great things.”

The win was Texas’ 62nd all-time national championship and its seventh over a two-year span, stamping it as the top athletic program in the country. The Longhorns sat in sixth place, well behind Michigan in the Directors’ Cup standings, which track the year-round success of sports but have not been updated for two months. However, over the course of the past two weeks, Texas has earned 300 points, an even hundred for each title.

And it's not done.

More:After second straight NCAA title, ‘We’re looking to make Texas a rowing school’

Mike White’s streaking softball team, while unseeded, won both a regional and a super regional on the road and opened Women’s College World Series play with a win over 12-time champion UCLA on Thursday. David Pierce’s surging baseball team and slugger Ivan Melendez will host one of the 16 regionals starting Friday. 

And Texas is well within striking distance of another championship — or two — for Edrick Floréal’s men’s and women’s track and field teams.

So does Chris Del Conte get the bulk rate when he orders national championship rings?

Just saying.

Arizona State's James Leow points out to UT opponent Parker Coody the location of Leow's ball, which had landed in a palo verde tree on the first hole Wednesday.

And that doesn’t give enough due credit to Vic Schaefer and his back-to-back Elite Eight runs in women’s basketball or the men’s doubles title last week or … it never seems to end.

The fourth championship this school year matches the most crowns Texas has ever had, duplicating a run in 1985-86 when the UT women earned titles with a perfect 34-0 basketball record under Jody Conradt as well as in swimming and diving, and indoor and outdoor track.

The men are more than holding up their end of the bargain this year.

Though this is officially the Chinese Year of the Tiger, it sure looks like the Year of the Bevo.

I can’t imagine how big a party Texas is planning at the sparkly new Moody Center. 

In truth, I’ve never seen the Texas athletic program quite this dominant. I wouldn’t necessarily say from beginning to glorious end because, well, most are still trying to forget a 5-7 football season.

For every other sport, check out the hardware.

Volleyball came close to reaching the Final Four in December, Eddie Reese flirted with yet another crown in the pool before settling for silver as did Carol Capitani with the women's swimmers and divers, and Chris Beard at least broke that nagging, eight-year jinx of zero NCAA Tournament men’s basketball victories.

Steve Sarkisian, well, he’s got some work to do, but he’s even more familiar with the expectations in the 512 nowadays.

Most recently, the Texas golfers came in, battle-tested after finishing third in the rough-and-tumble Big 12, although all five of Fields’ men placed in the top 20. So competitive was it that four league teams — Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech — all qualified for the eight-team match-play format to make up half the field. 

Arizona State learned just how strong they were.

“We were just a whisker away from winning a national championship,” ASU coach Matt Thurmond said. “But Texas is a great team. They played awesome.”

Which, for the better part of a year, has been par for the course.