Great expectations are an annual thing with the OSU golf program and, in a sense, nothing short of a win in the title match would be acceptable.
It’s a rematch from 2014. That year, Alabama took the men’s golf national championship from Oklahoma State, but this year, it’s on the Pokes’ home course and they had a rowdy Cowboy crowd behind them.
The Cowboys jumped out to some big leads early on – none bigger than the one Zach Bauchou managed.
The junior capped a 7 under par front 9 by holing out from a greenside bunker for eagle.
“I was thinking, ‘I’m 5 under, what would I do if we were playing a match out here?’” said Bauchou. “The only thing I told myself is ‘I’d try to hit it in that bunker and hole the bunker show,’ and so I did just that.”
Viktor Hovland got it going early, dropping a birdie putt on four to move to 2 up in his match. Then on the par 3 seventh, he birdied again to move to 3 up. He went on to win his match.
Freshman Matthew Wolfe started the day with an eagle and ended things in front of hundreds of Cowboy fans with the championship winning putt on 15.
It was a dominating performance from OSU. The Cowboys swept all 5 matches, none of which went beyond the 15th green.
“I didn’t know that it was to win the championship,” said Wolfe. “I just knew that it was to win my match and, you know, that’s how you win championships.”
“Obviously, the truest home field advantage was all the crowds, all those people out there. To be able to make a putt and perform and celebrate,” said OSU head coach Alan Bratton.
The title caps one of the best seasons ever in the storied history of the program.
Bauchou says it’s the best, but former coach turned A.D. Mike Holder won’t quite go that far.
“I remember talking to coach Holder after we lost the Big 12 and I said, ‘coach, we’re still the best team Oklahoma State’s ever had,’” said Bauchou. “He said, ‘nah, you’re not.’ But I told him, ‘Hey, after we win the national championship, we’ll go out to have lunch and we’ll talk about it.’”
The fan support all week drew praise from Alabama’s head coach Jay Seawell, but a similar run in the future may be out.
After next year, the NCAA is moving the championships to venues where teams won’t have a home course advantage.