Stillwater News Press

OSU Sports

April 24, 2014

Cowboys take aim at Big 12 title

STILLWATER, Okla. — Nearly three years after Oklahoma State lost its strangle hold on the Big 12 Conference men’s golf, the Cowboys look to reestablish their dominance in the conference with this weekend’s Big 12 Conference Men’s Golf Championship at Whispering Pines Golf Club in Trinity, Texas.

OSU had its five-year reign as champions end in 2012 to the departing Texas A&M Aggies, with the Longhorns of Texas claiming the crown a year ago.

But this year’s group of Cowboys, led by first-year men’s golf coach Alan Bratton, is the clear favorite heading into the three-day, 72-hole tournament at the Nicklaus Design course.

Oklahoma State is ranked fourth in the country by Golfweek.com, with its top competitor in conference being Bedlam rival Oklahoma, which is ranked No. 15, followed by No. 18 Texas.

“The course is actually fairly similar to Karsten Creek, I think,” said Bratton, who ran the Cowgirl golf program for two years before becoming just the fourth head coach in the men’s golf program. “It’s a good mix of long holes, short holes, so I think they will be comfortable because it will be a lot like home and we’ve had a lot of success here before, so I expect the same this week.”

What has the Cowboys looking good is the lack of reliance on one star golfer. While redshirt freshman Wyndham Clark is ranked seventh in the country among collegiate golfers by Golfweek.com, OSU has two other golfers — seniors Talor Gooch and Ian Davis — also ranked in the top 50.

“The strength of our team has been our depth, we haven’t had to rely on one player to carry us,” Bratton said. “We just keep building on that all year.”

This weekend will be Oklahoma State’s last chance to fine tune their game before NCAA postseason play. And after a fourth-place finish at the Aggie Invitational in Bryan, Texas, in early April — in which Bratton was none too pleased with his team’s performance — the first-year coach is looking to see how his golfers will respond.

“Hopefully our poor performance at College Station is just a kick in the pants that we needed coming into the Big 12,” Bratton said. “But I like the preparation that we’ve had since then.”

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