Young and fun: Texas Longhorns primed for deep NCAA Championship run

@TexasMGolf

Young and fun: Texas Longhorns primed for deep NCAA Championship run

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Young and fun: Texas Longhorns primed for deep NCAA Championship run

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Texas’ lineup at the 2019 NCAA Championship consists of just two upperclassmen and three freshman.

You’d think they were all four-year veterans based off their game.

The Longhorns, who entered the postseason ranked No. 3 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings, currently sit T-2 at the 2019 NCAA Div. I Men’s Golf Championship at Arkansas’ Blessings Golf Club, well inside Sunday’s top 15 and Monday’s top eight cuts.

“We came here with the idea that we had some momentum coming off of our regional in Austin but we had a really solid year leading up to that,” said head coach John Fields, referencing his team’s nine top-five finishes, four as runners-up. “We knew we had a team that could compete at a high level because our schedule is such that we don’t dodge anybody. We play strong fields against the best players, against the best coaches and on the best golf courses.”

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This week’s field in Arkansas, paired with the Blessings’ difficult layout, may be the young Longhorns’ toughest challenge yet.

So far, so good.

Defending champion Oklahoma State’s 25-shot lead aside, Texas has played well, with four players inside the top 50, including the freshman trio of Cole Hammer and twins Parker and Pierceson Coody.

The Texas Longhorns at the 2019 NCAA Div. I Men’s Golf Championship. (Photo: @TexasMGolf)

“I think we’re overlooked compared to other teams,” Pierceson said after shooting a 2-under 70 in Sunday’s third round. “For being a top-five team in the nation we’ve flown under the radar all year long. I think we’re getting into form and we still haven’t had our best day yet.”

Overlooked or not, Parker will say he believes opposing teams respect the Longhorns, and if they do have a knock, it’s their lone win at their own regional, a 20-shot triumph that featured senior Steven Chervony and Hammer as medalists alongside TCU’s Stefano Mazzoli.

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“Match play can take care of all that, so we’ll let that speak for itself when it happens,” Parker said with a smile.

“What we lose in terms of experience we make up for with enthusiasm, energy and desire, and that’s one of the neat things our three freshman bring to the table every day,” said Fields. “It’s been infectious.”

It hasn’t all been a blessing this week in Arkansas, especially for Pierceson, who shot an opening round 9-over 81. Texas ended the day in eighth place at 10-over par.

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“The first day I think hit us all pretty hard,” said Pierceson. “After that first round we all settled down and our coaches know what we can do and there’s a reason we’re here as freshman and we’ve shown that the last couple rounds.”

“Just because someone’s a freshman doesn’t mean they can’t (compete),” added Parker.

Fields and the twins all praised Chervony’s leadership, noting how his experience has quickly helped the team to develop into contenders for the program’s fourth national title.

“He’s done exactly what a senior needs to do to teach freshman exactly what we need to do” said Parker.

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