SAN ANTONIO — There’s not one, but if they gave out an award for fortitude at the collegiate golf level, Oklahoma’s Garett Reband would be a shoo-in.
During the final round of the 11th Annual Cabo Collegiate, Reband held a two-stroke lead, needing only to close out on the back nine to earn an automatic PGA Tour exemption into April’s Valero Texas Open.
While he played well, Reband burned the edges on a few putts and saw Texas A&M’s Sam Bennett pass him with a birdie on the 17th hole. Knowing he needed to make up a stroke, Reband put everything into his drive on the par-5 18th at TPC San Antonio’s Oaks Course, and pulled his ball left into an unplayable lie.
For Oklahoma coach Ryan Hybl, that’s where Reband’s story of courage starts.
Reband had to set aside a missed opportunity to play on the PGA Tour and focus on the task at hand — the Sooners needed him to finish strong to take the prestigious team title, and likely maintain their stranglehold on the top spot in the Golfweek/Sagarin team rankings.
The senior from Fort Worth, Texas, swallowed his pride, knocked a ball back in the middle of the fairway, stuck his approach and buried a five-footer to give the Sooners the team title.
Oklahoma, which completed the three-day event at 4 under, finished a stroke ahead of Florida State and three in front of Texas A&M.
Hybl was thrilled to see his senior star’s selfless attitude after a devastating blow.
“I’m so happy and excited or his finish. He wasn’t in a great spot and had to take an unplayable. No matter how you cut it, he did that for our golf team. And we ended up winning by a shot,” Hybl said. “I know he wanted to win the golf tournament as well or the PGA Tour start, but it’s a huge thing for him to not give one away at the very end. I’m excited for him.”
OU had three players finish in the top 10, impressive considering the event’s stacked field. Reband’s 68 on Wednesday put him at 4 under for the event while Jonathan Brightwell (-2) finished tied for fifth and Patrick Welch was ninth. Oklahoma State finished sixth with Austin Eckroat (T-5) leading the way for the Cowboys.
“We played really, really well in the first round, The conditions were about as tough as you’d find. Our guys came out here and shot under par, and that really helped,” Hybl said of the Sooners. “We didn’t finish as well as maybe we would have liked, but overall, heck when you can come win a tournament like that with a stacked field on a big-time golf course, that’s special.”
Hybl’s team had just one other start under its belt this spring, a third-place finish at the Seminole Intercollegiate in Tallahassee on February 19th. This event, which was forced away from its typical Cabo San Lucas home due to COVID, was just what the Sooners needed as the season ramps up.
“This is a confidence booster for us. We’re trying to figure out where all of our guys are at. Heck, we’ve been in ice and snow for the last month. It’s just nice to get down here, get some great weather on a great golf course, and try to figure out how to keep getting better,” Hybl said.
“The beautiful thing is a couple of my guys didn’t play great this week and they’ll be really irritated, but we’ll all get back together and go to work.”
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