The West Virginia University Men’s Golf team hosted the Big 12 Conference Golf Championship from Friday, April 26 to Sunday, April 28.
After adding the new golf program in 2015, the Big 12 chose the Mountaineers to host the 2019 competition. WVU chose The Greenbrier Resort and the Old White TPC to host the tournament.
The Big 12 Conference is known as a very competitive football conference, basketball has seen some National Champions as well, but the 10 golf teams that make up the conference have consistently received international attention.
The opening round of the 2019 Big 12 Conference Championship was postponed due to rain. Saturday saw the golfers play 36 holes battling very harsh winds, but it set up an exciting final round on Sunday.
“Well, I mean, it’s awesome to bring the best conference in college golf to The Greenbrier. All these teams, they had never played here before so they didn’t know what to expect, but we knew what to expect,” said WVU Head Coach Sean Covich. “Luckily the sun came out on Saturday and Sunday and it was gorgeous.”
The Mountaineers began the final round paired with the Kansas Jayhawks and opening on the 10th Tee. Coming in to the day, Sophomore Matthew Sharpstene sat at (+4) through 36 holes, but turned himself around with an impressive Sunday round. He holed five birdies and only one bogey en route to a 4-under, 66. He would finish in the top-15 in the Conference at even par for the 54-hole tournament.
“I’ve played here twice before this, so I think knowing the course was an advantage,” Sharpstene said.
Coming in to the final round, all eyes were on the last group: Viktor Hovland from Oklahoma State and the 2019 low-amateur at The Masters, and Hayden Springer from TCU.
“It was almost match play, back and forth, with the three shot lead to start the day,” Springer said after the round. “I was … what was he doing, what am I doing … not get too far behind, and when you have a chance, take advantage of it.”
Both golfers were tied after 15 holes, but a bogey on #16 would prove deadly for Hovland. Both golfers would birdie the par-5 17th and both had to battle through the wind to even grab a par on the short finishing hole.
Springer will now receive an invitation to play in the 2019 Military Tribute at The Greenbrier held at the Old White TPC in September.
“I’m super excited, that’s awesome, specially knowing that I get to come back and play in the PGA Tour event. I’m just really excited,” Springer said.
Skip ahead a few days, to Wednesday, May 1, the NCAA officially announced the teams that would be invited to play for a National Title. The West Virginia Mountaineers will have that opportunity! They will play in the Louisville Regional as the #8-seed.