UCO men, Hughes win tournament titles

UCO Sports
Mike Kirk, Part-Time Assistant for Media Relations

EDMOND – Alexander Hughes finished off a runaway triumph in the individual race to lead Central Oklahoma to an easy team victory in the Broncho Invitational Presented by RCB Tuesday at Oak Tree Country Club.

A ninth-hole double bogey didn’t faze Hughes, who proceeded to shoot a two-under-par 33 on the back nine to polish off an even-par 70 that gave him a two-round total of 139, good for a four-shot win.

The Bronchos, who entered the day with a 13-shot lead over Arkansas Tech, cruised to an 11-stroke victory over Harding for their third tournament title of the 2017-18 season.  ATU finished third in the 15-team field at 612, Oklahoma Christian was fourth at 618 and UCO’s second-team unit tied for fifth with Midwestern State at 621.

Yannic Oppenheimer backed up Hughes’ even-par round with a 73, while Wesley Jackson shot 75, Blake Berry 79 and Eli Armstrong 80.

Holden Crago and Jacob Lackey both had 75s to top the second unit. Tyler Avants added a 76, Stephen Lynch a 77 and Nick Pierce an 80.

Hughes had rounds of 69-70 in a tournament that had a scoring average of 79.67 for the 88-player field as strong winds buffeted the tough East Course throughout Monday’s opening round and most of Tuesday’s closing 18.

The Tulsa junior opened his final round with two pars, gave a stroke back on the par-4 third and then got that back with a birdie on the par-4 seventh.  He made the turn at two-over 37 after double bogeying the 467-yard par-4 ninth, which was the toughest hole of the tournament both days.

Hughes rebounded with six straight pars to maintain the lead and then put the tournament away with back-to-back birdies on the rugged par-4 16th and par-3 17th before finishing with a par.

“I just played really solid,” Hughes said. “I knew with the conditions coming in and the weather coming up that I had to play as consistent as possible and trust my game.  I’ve played out here so many times I know about every spot on this course and that was an advantage for me.

“Yesterday was a grind and today I focused on not getting ahead of myself and taking it shot by shot.  This is my third win at UCO and I just felt pretty comfortable out there and I knew I could do it.”

Oppenheimer had a steady day with nines of 36-37 for his 73 that left him tied for 12th in the individual standings at 152.  Jackson rebounding from a front-nine 40 with a one-under 35 on the back in tying for 17th at 153.

Crago got off to a tough start and made the turn at seven-over 42 before reeling off four straight birdies to start the back nine.  He went on to finish with a closing 33 for the 75 that moved him into seventh place in the medalist race at 149.

The Bronchos travel to Muscle Shoals, Ala. next week for the Division II National Preview.