Aggies, Bennett Emerge Victorious at Traditions
BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Texas A&M men’s golf team beat top-ranked Oklahoma in a playoff and junior Sam Bennett tallied his third win of 2021 on Sunday at the Aggie Invitational at Traditions Club.
The Aggies entered the day seven shots off the lead but delivered a 4-under 284, the low round of the day, to leapfrog the day one and two leader Texas Longhorns and catch the Sooners. In the playoff, the Aggies and Sooners replayed the 18th hole with the Aggies emerging as the victors. It marked the fourth time the Aggies have won their home tournament and first time since 2014.
”It means we beat a bunch of good golf teams,” head coach Brian Kortan said. “Beating Texas and Oklahoma and playing with those guys three days in a row is a great experience for our guys. This is where you build. These are the type of events that you can draw experience from during the postseason. It means a lot to have that experience, but it also means a lot to come out on top. We haven’t had an ‘Aggie’ in two years and then to have one and have our guys come out on top is huge.”
The Aggies and Sooners finished 54 holes knotted at 2-over with the No. 5 Longhorns in third at 4-over. Rounding out the top 10 were No. 25 Texas Tech (+9), Baylor (+12), Louisville (+14), Nebraska (+29), Kansas (+32), Houston (+35) and North Texas (+35).
Leading the way for the Aggies was Bennett, who continued his torrid play in 2021. Entering the day with a three-stroke lead, Bennett used a workman-like even-par 72 to finish 6-under and tally a one-stroke win over ninth-ranked Pierceson Coody of Texas with a large gallery of friends and family from nearby Madisonville in attendance. Bennett is the fourth Aggie to win medalist honors at the Aggie Invitational.
“I was texting my brother last night and, not being cocky, I’ve been playing here since I was 13 and I’ve been in good form coming into the week and I was like ‘ain’t no one gonna beat me on my home course,’ Bennett said. “It felt good to get the job done and the win for the Ags as well.
”It was sweet. People back in Madisonville have been very supportive in everything I do and any sport I play. It was cool having them out there watching me play and all the Aggies that came out. The 12th Man was huge for us and it was nice getting some claps and hearing some roars out there today. "
Kortan added, “Sammy has just matured a lot. He’s really good at hitting every shot and taking each shot one at a time and staying present. You can see maturity in a golfer in a lot of ways, but his has been being able to control his excitement because he’s such a competitive guy. But to watch him win and continue to play well has been a lot of fun. He’s leading us right now, and we have a great leader.”The Aggies received great play up and down their lineup, but senior Dan Erickson was instrumental in the team victory with a 4-under 68 on Sunday. Erickson offset a single bogey with five birdies as he carded the low round of the day among the team players.
“We knew coming into today that we were in contention and we just needed to play our game,” Erickson said. “I was able to do that pretty well. I stuck to the game plan, rolled a few putts in and was able to keep it together down the stretch, along with all of us, to finished strong and then win in a playoff.”
Other Aggies contributing counting scores in the final round were senior Walker Lee and freshman Daniel Rodrigues, who both carded even par rounds of 72. Sophomore William Paysse turned in a 1-over 73.
Four Aggies finished inside the top 25 with Bennett getting the victory, Erickson tying for sixth (+1), Rodrigues tying for 16th (+3) and Paysse tying for 24th (+5).Next up for the Aggies is the SEC Championships, which will be contested at Sea Island Golf Club in Saint Simons Island, Ga., April 21-25
Aggies on the Leaderboard (Final):
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