Oklahoma State leads Ping/Golfweek Invitational

BREMERTON, Wash. – Oklahoma State brought its version of the wild, wild West to the Pacific Northwest on Sunday. Coming out with their top guns blazing, the Cowboys blasted their way to the top of the Ping/Golfweek Invitational on a 36-hole day at Gold Mountain Golf Club.

Led by U.S. Walker Cup hero Peter Uihlein, OSU led host Washington by 12 shots after the first two rounds in the Ping/Golfweek Invitational at Gold Mountain Golf Club. Uihlein, a sophomore, took the first-round lead with a 3-under 69 and followed with a 1-under 71. His 4-under 140 total gave him a three-shot advantage over LSU’s Andrew Loupe (73-70).

Uihlein got plenty of help from sophomore Morgan Hoffmann (74-70) and senior Trent Whitekiller (71-73), who were tied for third at even-par 144.

“It’s a good feeling when you can put a good number on the board on a hard golf course,” said Oklahoma State coach Mike McGraw. “This is my first time here and I really love the golf course. The greens are firm and fast, which I like, and you can get penalized in a big way if you hit it in the wrong spots. We were fortunate to not hit it in too many wrong spots.”

OSU finished the nearly 11 hours of competition over the steep and rolling hills of this western Washington layout just off Puget Sound at 1-over 577, shooting rounds of 290-287. Washington, Golfweek’s preseason No. 3, came in at 295-294.

Another three shots back at 16 over were LSU (299-293) and USC (305-287), while Arizona State followed at 17 over (300-293). The final 18 holes will be played Monday.

Defending NCAA champion Texas A&M’s struggles continued. The Aggies, who opened the season with a tie for fifth at Olympia Fields, failed to break 300. With rounds of 302-301, Texas A&M was tied for 10th in the 15-team field.

OSU had no such problems.

“We had some great playing today and we need to take that momentum and keep it going tomorrow,” McGraw said. “All the guys have been there (in a similar position) before, so they know what they have to do to get the job done.”

Uilhein was steady from start to finish. He was the only player not to register a bogey in the opening round to go with three birdies, and followed with a three-birdie, two-bogey afternoon round.

“I kept the ball in front of me all day and didn’t get into much trouble,” said Uihlein, who two weeks ago went 4-0 in helping lead the U.S. to victory at the Walker Cup. “I made a lot of solid putts and was fortunate some of them went it.

“I’ve been hitting the ball well all week and felt good about my game coming in. I like this golf course. I think it sets up well for my game. I really didn’t do anything spectacular. In fact, it was pretty uneventful, but sometimes that’s a good thing.”

It certainly wasn’t uneventful for his closest challengers, all of whom outmatched Uihlein in the birdie department.

Loupe had four birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey in his opening round and followed with five birdies against a trio of bogeys in the afternoon session.

Hoffmann matched Uihlein’s two-round birdie total in the second round alone, in which he made a half-dozen, but he also made four bogeys. This came after an opening round with two birdies, two bogeys and a double.

Whitekiller, who finished first at Olympia Fields, opened with five birdies and four bogeys, then followed in the second round with three birdies, a pair of bogeys and a double.

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