SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Listening to the Texas Tech coaches and gamers pronounce the primary identify of freshman Baard Skogen (appears like bored), you’d assume the Norwegian wasn’t very full of life.
It’s really the alternative.
The Red Raiders had a 6:35 a.m. begin time for Friday’s opening spherical of the NCAA Championship, so it was an early wakeup name for head coach Greg Sands’ bunch. Understandably, issues had been a bit quiet on the 20-minute van experience to Grayhawk Golf Club – that’s till Skogen broke the silence.
“Man, it’s like D-Day in here,” he stated. “Let’s get the music going.”
The vibe has been nice currently for Texas Tech, and that continued on Friday. The Red Raiders regarded unfastened (in a great way) as they shot 4-under 276 to take an early lead within the desert.
“When you’ve been doing it this long, you know when you know, and you can see it in their eyes and see the confidence,” Sands stated. “The culture is starting to finally take hold.”
Texas Tech entered this week ranked No. 22 within the nation, a disappointing standing contemplating the preseason expectations. But this staff has had to overcome quite a bit, together with the lack of senior chief Sandy Scott to a wrist harm and spurts of poor play from two different seniors, Kyle Hogan and Andy Lopez.
The Red Raiders didn’t win in the course of the common season. Scott didn’t play at all within the spring. Hogan gained at Maridoe to open his fall earlier than tying for 91st in his subsequent occasion, and he hasn’t notched a top-10 end since. Lopez has simply two top-10s in 9 begins.
“It’s taken us some time to get all the pieces of puzzle in place,” Sands stated.
With an additional emphasis on their psychological video games in latest weeks, the Red Raiders broke out at the suitable time, capturing 26 underneath and profitable the NCAA Albuquerque Regional by 10 pictures. All 5 gamers, together with Hogan and Lopez, completed inside the highest 25, led by Haskins Award contender Ludvig Aberg, who tied for fourth. He has seven top-5 finishes this season, together with two wins.
That momentum bled into Friday, the place Texas Tech’s beginning 5 didn’t make something worse than bogey. In reality, the 4 counting Red Raiders mixed for simply eight bogeys, and Garrett Martin’s 1-over 71 was the throw-out rating. Aberg shot 68 with three birdies in his remaining 5 holes. Lopez and Skogen added 69s, the latter making 5 birdies.
“We’ve had good team spirit the last few weeks, bonded very well,” Aberg stated, “and this is just the result of that.”
Despite no wind, Grayhawk was no pushover thanks to difficult pins, agency greens and unpredictable tough. Texas Tech was properly ready. Aberg stated he hit simply two drives within the opening spherical, opting as an alternative for a 2-iron and the almost-boring fashion of golf that will get it achieved this time of 12 months.
“It’s just patience out there,” Aberg added. “Fairways, greens, two-putt for par and hopefully sneak in a couple of birdies.”
Oh, and switch the music up and maintain the vibe going.