Forecaddie: Texas, Arizona State worth extra look ahead of next college season

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Forecaddie: Texas, Arizona State worth extra look ahead of next college season

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Forecaddie: Texas, Arizona State worth extra look ahead of next college season

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When the seeds were announced for regional play ahead of the 2019 NCAA Div. I Men’s Golf Championship, Texas was selected as the final No. 1 seed in its own Austin regional.

The Forecaddie heard plenty of arguments for other schools who felt snubbed, but it’s not like the Longhorns were undeserving. In 11 events, Texas finished outside the top five just twice, including four runner-up showings.

Boasting a lineup of three freshmen, a junior and a senior, the Longhorns took care of business, winning their regional by 20 strokes as senior Steven Chervony and freshman Cole Hammer shared medalist honors alongside TCU’s Stefano Mazzoli.

But the team felt overlooked heading into the NCAA Championship at Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Ark.

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

Coody and his teammates proved they belonged, advancing to the final against Stanford before losing 3-2. Texas coach John Fields said the experience of getting to the final match puts the Longhorns “in great position to capitalize on this momentum.”

The motivated Longhorns will return four starters in Hammer, twins Parker and Pierceson Coody and Spencer Soosman, making Texas a strong favorite to return to the match-play final again next year.

But obviously TMOF has to warn against giving the trophy away just yet.

Starting next year, for the first time in college golf history, a university and golf course will host the NCAA Championship for three consecutive seasons, as Arizona State and Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., will play host through 2022.

Arizona State won four times in 2018-19, and coach Matt Thurmond’s entire team is set to return next season, led by a trio of seniors in Chun An Yu, Alex del Rey and Blake Wagoner, not to mention Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Cameron Sisk.

The Sun Devils also have history on their side. Since the NCAA’s move to match play for the men’s championship in 2009, TMOF has noticed a growing trend toward home-course advantage. Georgia Tech made it to the semifinals while hosting in 2013 at the Capital City Club in Alpharetta, Ga.

Three years later, Oregon won on its home course at Eugene Country Club, as did Oklahoma State in 2018 at its Karsten Creek.

While Grayhawk isn’t the Sun Devils’ home course, TMOF would be shocked if Thurmond’s team wasn’t in contention for match play. Gwk

(Note: This story appears in the July 2019 issue of Golfweek.)

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