Before match play began Tuesday at the men’s NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., college golf observers knew the favorite.
The defending champion Oklahoma State Cowboys stayed perched at No. 1 in all the rankings for most of the season. And Cowboy junior Viktor Hovland, who recently won the Ben Hogan Award as the nation’s top college player, and sophomore Matthew Wolff were Nos. 1 and 2 in the individual collegiate rankings, respectively.
So, when the Cowboys shot 16-under-par 1,136 in the championships’ stroke-play portion and claimed the No. 1 seed in match play by 31 shots – as impressive as that was – most fans nodded or shrugged. Everyone thought this was over. The Cowboys should run the table.
All five Oklahoma State players finished in the top 30 on the individual leaderboard, and Wolff won the NCAA individual title with a 10-under 278 score, five strokes better than Georgia Southern’s Steven Fisk.
Consider this, too: Wolff started the NCAAs with a 4-over 40 on his first nine at Blessings Golf Club last week a...
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