The spring season is officially here.
College golf kicked back into swing this week with the first few tournaments of the spring slate. February is the month when the schedule really picks up, however, though some teams didn’t take long to stand out and make a statement after the winter break.
There were numerous school records broken at the National Invitational Tournament, including one by the host team. The 2023 U.S. Amateur runner-up also got a win and helped his team to victory, and the defending national champs had a stellar showing as well.
Here’s what you missed from the last week of college golf.
New Mexico sets school record at N.I.T.
It’s safe to say the New Mexico men didn’t take any time to heat up for the spring season.
The Lobos captured the National Invitational Tournament, shooting a 54-hole school record 51 under to win at Omni Tucson National in Arizona. The field included 11 teams ranked in the top 60, however, it was New Mexico coming out on top after the record-breaking performance.
The Lobos had to take two days to complete the second round because of darkness, but they fired a school-record round of 265. It broke the previous single-round record of 268 set during the second round of this season’s Alister MacKenzie Invitational in California. New Mexico’s previous scoring record for 54 holes of 42 under was set last spring at the NCAA Salem Regional.
New Mexico beat host Arizona by one, and the Wildcats also set school records in the win. The Wildcats shot 20 under in their second and third rounds to propel them to their historic finish. Arizona’s final score of 50 under surpassed its previous mark of 41 under in its win at the 2021 Pac-12 Championship.
BYU’s Zac Jones shot 8-under 64 in the final round to help him win by one, finishing at 18 under. Arizona State freshman Wenyi Ding, a mid-year enrollee, finished solo second one shot back. New Mexico’s Bastien Amat and Arizona’s Tiger Christensen tied for third at 16 under.
A win for Shipley, Ohio State
It was a stellar start to the spring for Ohio State and Neal Shipley.
Shipley, the 2023 U.S. Amateur runner-up, captured the individual title at the Southwestern Invitational, the first of his collegiate career. Additionally, the Buckeyes came out on top in the team competition, winning by one shot at North Ranch Country Club in Westlake Village, California.
Shipley made eight birdies on Wednesday to post a final round 6-under 65. He finished at 12 under for the tournament, one shot ahead of Washington’s Taehoon Song.
Meanwhile, Ohio State led going into the final round, but seven teams held a share of the lead at some point on the last day. Freshman Jack Vojtko made his first collegiate start and shot 2 under overall. Ultimately, Ohio State beat UNLV by one shot to take home the title, its first of the season.
Defending champs show out
Florida held off a late charge from North Florida to win the 2024 Sea Best Invitational at TPC Sawgrass’ Dye’s Valley course in Ponta Vedra Beach, Florida. It’s the Gators’ third straight victory at the event.
Florida, the 2023 national champions, shot a team score of 2-over 842 for a three-shot win and back-to-back to start the spring. It was the seventh overall victory at the event and fifth under coach J.C. Deacon.
Seven of the 10 Florida golfers competing in the event finished in the top 15: Ian Gilligan (2), Tyler Wilkes (T-4), Luke Poulter (6), Jack Turner (T-7), Parker Bell (T-7), Miguel Leal (1-2) and Quentin Debove (T-15). The finishes of Bell and Poulter marked career bests for the second-year players. Poulter had the second-lowest round of the day with a 3-under 67 going bogey-free on the back nine and three consecutive birdies to start.
North Florida’s Robbie Higgins shot rounds of 69-71-65 and moved four spots up the leaderboard with his final round to nab individual medalist honors at 5 under. Gilligan was one shot back at 4 under.
Nick Gabrelcik, Higgins teammate and a 2023 Walker Cup team member, finished solo third at 2 under.
Only five players finished under par after 54 holes. Louisville finished 13 shots behind second-place North Florida.
College golf facilities: Texas Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros and Vaqueros Golf Center
On January 24, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley opened its Vaqueros Golf Center.
The facility cost $3 million and was built at Champion Lakes Golf Course in McAllen, Texas.
For more on the facility, click here.