Men's Golf preview: NCAA Championship
May 27, 2012
Texas at NCAA Championship
• Longhorns Retain Top Ranking ... Texas enters the NCAA postseason as the top-ranked team in the final Golf World/Nike Golf men’s Division I coaches’ poll of the spring (May 16). The Longhorns secured 10 of the 17 available first-place votes to keep the No. 1 ranking they first earned last November. Additionally, Texas is tops in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings (May 19).
• Two-time NCAA Champions ... Texas has two NCAA team championships to its credit (1971, 1972) and 17 top-five team finishes, with the most recent coming at the 2004 NCAA Championships (4th) in Hot Springs, Va.
• All-time Texas NCAA Medalists ... Ed White became UT’s first NCAA medalist in 1935. Future PGA Tour legends Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite went on to become NCAA individual champions for Texas, as did current PGA Tour veteran Justin Leonard. Crenshaw took medalist honors while helping the Horns to the team title at the 1971 NCAA Championships in Tucson, Ariz. Crenshaw and Kite tied for medalist honors while bringing UT its second consecutive NCAA team trophy to Austin in 1972. Crenshaw completed his NCAA individual medal trifecta in 1973 while helping Texas to third place at the NCAA Championships. Leonard took medalist honors and led Texas to a second-place finish at the 1994 NCAA Championships in McKinney, Texas.
• Longhorns Collect Seven Wins ... Texas’ seven team victories this season are the most since the 1975-76 and 1982-83 squads finished with the same total. UT’s 1972-73 team collected nine wins, while the 1971-72 squad brought eight wins home to Austin including the NCAA Championship. In Texas first four victories, it won by an average +16.8 margin.
• Top-ranked Trio ... Freshman Jordan Spieth ranks No. 1 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings (as of May 19) while senior Dylan Frittelli and junior Julio Vegas check in at Nos. 3 and 20, respectively. Texas is one of only two schools in the field to boast three Top 20 players heading into the NCAA Championship.
• Familiar Territory for Fields ... Head coach John Fields has led Texas to the NCAA Championship 10 times, including four Top 10 finishes.
• 2011 NCAA Championship Flashback ... Texas saved its best round for last and carded a 7-over 295 in the final stroke-play round of the NCAA Championship at Oklahoma State’s Karsten Creek Golf Club. After starting the day tied for 19th place, Texas finished the three-round stroke play portion of the national championships at 31-over par and tied for 12th place. Dylan Frittelli landed a career-best 21st-place finish at the NCAA Championship and secured the top individual finish for a Longhorn at the national championships in the last seven seasons. Frittelli’s 21st-place showing marks the best for a Longhorn since Jason Hartwick placed eighth at the 2004 NCAA Championship.
• Veteran Experience ... Four Texas players have NCAA Championship experience under their belts. Senior Dylan Frittelli (2009, 2010, 2011) is making his fourth appearance in the national championship, while junior Cody Gribble is making his third (2010, 2011). Junior Julio Vegas and sophomore Toni Hakula joined Frittelli and Gribble in Stillwater, Okla., last year for the NCAA Championship debuts.
• Quartet Earns All-Big 12 Honors ... Jordan Spieth became the fourth golfer in league history to tally both Big 12 Player and Newcomer of the Year awards. Texas led the conference with four All-Big 12 Team honorees, as Spieth, senior Dylan Frittelli, junior Julio Vegas and sophomore Toni Hakula made up the most Longhorns on the postseason squad in league history. Spieth became UT’s third consecutive Big 12 Newcomer of the Year as Hakula and junior Cody Gribble earned the same honor in 2011 and 2010, respectively.
• Ben Hogan Finalist and Semifinalist ... Jordan Spieth was named one of three finalists for the 2012 The Ben Hogan Award and senior Dylan Frittelli made the cut as one of 10 semifinalists for the most prestigious award in men’s college golf.
• Frittelli Named Byron Nelson Award Co-Recipient ... Dylan Frittelli became the first player in Texas history to earn the Byron Nelson Award in April. Candidates for the Nelson Award must be graduating seniors and the selection committee considers equally a nominee’s entire collegiate academic and golf career and his character and integrity while in college. Particular consideration will be given to a nominee’s good citizenship, as portrayed by Mr. Byron Nelson over the course of his life and golf career. In addition to his athletic accolades, Frittelli has volunteered with Longhorn Halloween, Marathon Kids, Pancakes for Parkinson’s and the Neighborhood Longhorns Banquet. Frittelli is also active with the Marbridge Foundation, a group that provides assistance to the Special Olympics.
• All-American Production ... Head coach John Fields has produced 13 All-Americans at Texas (Matt Bortis, Matt Brost, Brad Elder, Dylan Frittelli, David Gossett, Cody Gribble, Jason Hartwick, Charlie Holland, Bobby Hudson, John Klauk, Lance Lopez, Matthew Rosenfeld and J.J. Wall) who have earned a total of 21 All-America honors.
• Spieth at Riviera ... Earlier this year, freshman Jordan Spieth and assistant coach Ryan Murphy had an exclusive sneak peak at Riviera Country Club when Spieth was offered a sponsor exemption in the PGA Tour Northern Trust Open. Spieth missed the cut by two strokes after rounds of 76 and 71. Murphy was on the bag for Spieth’s fourth PGA Tour event.
• Spieth in the Big Leagues ... In five career PGA Tour starts, freshman Jordan Spieth has made the cut three times. He has finished tied for 16th at the 2010 HP Byron Nelson Championship, tied for 32nd at the same event in 2011 and most recently tied for 41st at the 2012 Valero Texas Open.
NCAA Championship Info
Schedule of Events:
Live Scoring: GolfStat.com