2005: College - Sweet homecoming for Bratton

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Who says you can’t go home again? Alan Bratton did, and it turned into a homecoming he won’t soon forget.

Bratton, the assistant coach at Oklahoma State, grew up in College Station, home of Texas A&M University. He was back in town last week as the Cowboys competed in the inaugural Texas A&M Invitational at Traditions Golf Club, a facility that opened last summer and now serves as home for the Aggie men’s and women’s programs.

Given Bratton’s deep hometown ties – his parents even served as tournament volunteers – veteran Oklahoma State coach Mike Holder decided to turn over the coaching reigns to his assistant.

Bratton made the most of his opportunity. With three consecutive rounds of 2-over-par 290 for a 6-over 870 total, Oklahoma State captured its fifth title of the season April 17 and solidified its No. 1 standing in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings.

“The fact that the tournament was in College Station made it very special to me,” said Bratton, an All-American golfer for Holder at Oklahoma State and a key figure in the Cowboys’ victory at the 1995 NCAA Championship. “I don’t get back here that much, so it was great to see a lot of old friends. And for us to win the tournament made the trip even more meaningful.”

Oklahoma State and New Mexico entered the final round deadlocked, and the duel went to the final hole, with the Cowboys edging the fifth-ranked Lobos by two strokes. New Mexico closed with a 292 for an 872 total, eight shots clear of third-place finisher Texas Tech in the 14-team field.

Oklahoma sophomore Anthony Kim shot a closing 3-under 69 – the only sub-70 score the last day – on the 7,235-yard, par-72 layout to share medalist honors with New Mexico’s Spencer Levin, who led after each of the first two rounds. Each player finished at 6-under 210.

Kim opened with rounds of 72-69, while Levin, who shot 67-69 his first 36 holes, struggled in with a 2-over 74.

“It was tough out there today,” Levin said. “The wind was blowing and the pins were difficult. There was maybe one easy pin placement all day. Anything under par today was a really good score, I know that. I didn’t play my best, but I tried my hardest, and that’s all you can do.”

After beginning on the fifth hole in the shotgun start, Kim birdied No. 10, bogeyed No. 12, birdied Nos. 13 and 17, and bogeyed No. 18. He came right back with birdies at Nos. 1 and 2 and closed with a pair of pars.

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