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Texas’ early NCAA exit leaves Cole Hammer with motivation to come back

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Early in his back 9 Sunday on the NCAA Championship, Texas junior Cole Hammer took one look on the leaderboard and knew his season was over. The Longhorns had primarily ejected themselves with a string of massive numbers down the stretch, and the ultimate few holes within the blistering Arizona warmth solely added insult to harm.

By the time Texas had lastly gotten it within the clubhouse, the rating wasn’t fairly. The Longhorns, enjoying with out junior Pierceson Coody due to sickness for a second straight day, carded the second-worst third spherical within the discipline (22-over 302) and ended its week early at 46 over, 14 pictures back of the top-15 cutoff.

“We would’ve never saw this coming,” Hammer mentioned. “We’ve had a pretty solid last few months, and I’m just kind of in shock right now. We just totally laid an egg.”

Texas entered nationals as one of many favorites, having simply received a regional, however was dealt an early blow when Coody turned sick and labored via a gap 79 earlier than being subbed out for senior Hunter Ostrom. Travis Vick was the one Longhorn to shoot higher than 10 over in 54 holes, although his 80 on Sunday dropped him to 8 over.

Hammer, who final month received the Big 12 Championship, shot 15 over for the abbreviated week, making simply eight birdies.

“Man, it was tough; I didn’t help the team at all,” Hammer mentioned. “I needed to play well today, yesterday and the day before, and for some reason I put a lot of pressure on myself and wasn’t able to perform. It’s something that I’m going to learn from.”

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In Hammer’s protection, it’s been a busy stretch of golf. After convention, he spent every week on the Walker Cup. He then went straight to the AT&T Byron Nelson, teeing it up within the PGA Tour occasion earlier than flying to regionals. Hammer admitted he’s struggled to maintain energy and vitality throughout this demanding run, and he added that he’s misplaced 10 kilos prior to now few weeks.

“I need to get my body in better shape to be able to handle all that,” Hammer mentioned, “because when I take the next step, I’m going to be playing even more golf.”

So, when is Hammer taking that subsequent step?

“After this week it’s a lot of motivation to come back,” mentioned Hammer, who’s remaining novice and returning to Texas for his senior yr.

That doesn’t suggest he will not minimize his tooth in professional occasions this summer time. He has U.S. Open sectionals in a bit over every week adopted by a begin within the PGA Tour’s Palmetto Championship the week earlier than Torrey Pines. He’ll then take a number of much-needed weeks off to recharge earlier than teeing it up within the Open Championship at Royal St. George’s in July.

But he is bought unfinished enterprise in school. He needs to earn his diploma and, simply as importantly, win an NCAA Championship.

Despite this week’s efficiency, the Longhorns, who had been nationwide runners-up in Hammer’s freshman yr, determine to be one of many groups to beat subsequent season. Texas is returning all 5 starters, together with Hammer, each Coody twins, Vick and Mason Nome, who has skilled a resurgent sophomore season.

“I love these guys,” Hammer mentioned. “We’ve got a lot to be thankful for and be excited about for next year. I’m happy to be on this team; I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, and you know what? Bad weeks happen, and we’ll move on.”

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