Texas A&M rockets to 9-shot win at Olympia Fields

Texas A&M rockets to 9-shot win at Olympia Fields

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Texas A&M rockets to 9-shot win at Olympia Fields

The Aggies have been competing minus one of the hottest amateur players this summer, and yet it hasn’t slowed them down.

Texas A&M fired a 9-under 271 Sunday at Olympia Fields Country Club’s North Course to charge from six back (in third place) to an emphatic nine-shot victory at the Olympia Fields Country Club/Fighting Illini Invitational.

That closing 9-under score was the round of the day by 12 shots, as no other squad broke par on the final 18 at a stern Olympia Fields. Three Aggies broke par on the day and all four counting scores were at par or better.

An impressive way to close things out, to say the least, as the Aggies posted this incredible round against one of college golf’s top fields. Despite a lofty perch at No. 11 in the Golfweek preseason rankings, Texas A&M was only the sixth-highest ranked team in the field (four of the top six in the rankings showed up). This also constitutes the Aggies’ second straight win to start the season after a six-shot triumph at the Badger Invitational.

And Texas A&M has done all of this without Cameron Champ, the superstar amateur who burst onto the scene at the U.S. Open. The senior missed the opener to play in the Walker Cup and passed on Olympia Fields due to back tightness.

Overall an incredibly impressive Sunday, as the Aggies posted the best team round (271) in the 12-year history of this event.

“What a great final round,” J.T. Higgins, Texas A&M’s head coach said. “The guys came out focused, determined and just played fantastic golf. Every one of the guys was in it until the end. We had four scores of par or better, so it was an amazing team effort.”

Brandon Smith’s 65 led the way Sunday as he tied for ninth at even par. Chandler Phillips (T-15, 2 over) posted a closing 67 and Reese Ramsey (T-18, 3 over) came in with 69. Josh Gilege (T-4, 4 under) rounded out the counting scores with a final-round 70.

Alabama, Golfweek‘s preseason No. 12, began the round three shots ahead but couldn’t keep up. The Crimson Tide closed in 6-over 286 for a second straight runner-up to start the season. The individual title did reach Alabama, though, as junior Davis Riley closed in 3-under 67 to finish 10 under and win by three.

Only eight players broke par this week, and Riley was the sole Crimson Tide player to do it. Jonathan Hardee was Alabama’s next best performer as he finished in a tie for ninth at even par. Davis Shore placed in a tie for 30th at 8 over, and Alabama didn’t have another finisher in the top 35.

Preseason No. 1 Oklahoma State finished third at 10 over with Zach Bauchou (T-4, 4 under) leading the way. Baylor, a preseason No. 2, dropped two spots to fourth at 12 over after a 9-over 289 to finish. The Bears were paced by Braden Bailey, who finished T-6 at 3 under.

Host Illinois, the preseason No. 5, finished the week fifth at 13 over. Nick Hardy placed second at 7 under to lead the Illini charge.

UNLV’s Shintaro Ban was third at 6 under, lifting the Rebels to seventh at 24 over.

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