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Friday, September 30, 2022 — Houston, TX

Golf falters to 17th at Morris Intercollegiate

By Paul Fitzgerald     4/9/09 7:00pm

Two weeks ago in Austin, Texas, the golf team played against one of their toughest fields yet, posting a 17th-place finish at the Morris Williams Intercollegiate. Along with the stiff competition, the tournament boasted the University of Texas Golf Club's long course and windy conditions, two factors that combined to produce a disappointing finish for the Owls. The Owls head to Wallace, N.C., to play in the River Landing Intercollegiate, the team's penultimate tournament of the year, hosted by North Carolina State University. The field at River Landing Country Club will include Duke University, the University of Virginia, Wake Forest University and the University of Maryland. Though the Owls do not have a chance of making the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team, they still look to finish strong and possibly earn an automatic bid at the conference tournament.

The Morris Williams Intercollegiate, hosted by the University of Texas, featured one of the toughest fields Rice has faced all year. Oklahoma State University, a top-five team and one of collegiate golf's most storied programs, headlined the field, which also included top-25 teams Texas Tech University, University of Southern California and the University of Arkansas.

Rice shot 304 (+20) in the first round of the Morris Williams, its best round of the tournament. The Owls' score was good enough for 12th in the 18-team field, as no school shot under par during the windy first round. Senior Erik Petersen and sophomore Robert Burrow led Rice with matching 75's (+4). Though the Owls' score was higher than their scoring average, the difficult course affected the play of everyone in the field.

"A combination of wind and firm green, along with tough pin locations made the course as difficult as we've seen this year," Burrow said. "This can obviously be seen with the fact that only one player shot in the 60's."

The Owls looked to move up in the standings during the second round of play and got off to a hot start, moving into the top 10 midway through the round. However, a disappointing finish dropped the Owls further down on the leaderboard than where they started the round. Rice shot a 309 (+25) and was led by junior Christopher Brown's even-par 71. Brown's round was one of the lowest of the entire tournament and the Owls' lowest of the two-day event.

Head Coach Drew Scott was happy with the gutsy play of Brown.

"Chris doesn't have the length as some of the top players, so he has to battle twice as hard on a long, challenging course like Morris Williams," Scott said. "Though he didn't play his best, he really went out there and battled."

Despite their previous two rounds, the Owls found themselves in position for a top-10 finish with a strong third round. But Rice could never get going, shooting a 327 (+43). Brown was once again the low score for the Owls with a 78 (+7). Rice's weak finish in the second round appeared to affect their play in the final round.

Rice's three-round cumulative score of 940 (+88) dropped them to a 17th-place finish. Despite their disappointing finish, the Owls' national ranking improved due to the strong difficulty of the field at the University of Texas Golf Club, one of the hardest collegiate golf courses. No team shot under-par throughout the tournament and USC's Tom Glissmeyer recorded the individual low-score with a two-under 69 in the first round. Strong field and windy conditions present over the two-day tournament only enhanced the course difficulty.

Scott, however, refused to make excuses for the team's play.

"While the conditions were very challenging, every team had to play in the same weather," Scott said. "It's not like we were playing in windy conditions and everyone else was playing in a vacuum."

Oklahoma State, ranked second in the country, won the tournament with a three-round score of 863 (+11). Second-place Arkansas finished 25 strokes back to the Cowboys, who dominated the event from the start. Four of Oklahoma State's five golfers finished in the top seven, with the fifth finishing 19th.

Glissmeyer shared the tournament's title with the Cowboys' Morgan Hoffman, as both shot one-under 212's.

The team will now turn to the River Landing Intercollegiate and the Conference USA Championships, taking place in Orlando, Fla., on April 19-21, to try to salvage their spring season. Rice's NCAA Tournament hopes are pinned on a strong performance at the conference tournament, as their play in the fall and the first five tournaments of the spring has eliminated their chance of receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Scott mentioned that the Owls will use this week's tournament to prepare for the conference tournament.

"We've had enough time to lick our wounds and regroup," Scott said. "We're excited to get out there and use this week as a springboard for the conference tournament.

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