Staying warm in near-freezing weather at UTSA’s Oak Hills Invitational? Impossible

As if the temperature readings and ill-lit skies heading into Tuesday’s final round of the UTSA Oak Hills Invitational weren’t enough of a warning, it was clear it was going to be one of those bitter days on the golf course when Roadrunners men’s coach Jon Knauer gave his team a pre-round talk.

“I told them that today’s round would tell them nothing about their golf skills,” Knauer said. “It would tell them more about their mental skills.”

Maybe the temperature edged to more than 35 degrees, and perhaps the drizzle would become spotty as the day wore on, but it did nothing to help playing conditions in a 54-hole tournament that 13th-ranked Oklahoma would win by five strokes over Baylor. UTSA finished 28 shots back in the results, tied for seventh, and Texas State completed play in 11th.

Kyle Stevens sank an uphill birdie putt of about eight feet after hitting a 4-iron into the 18th green to win individual honors by a stroke over Baylor teammate Andreas Gjesteby (a 19-year-old from Norway who shot a tournament-low 67 in the lousy conditions on Tuesday). Stevens, a junior from the northern Arizona town of Snowflake, was even-par over 54 holes and wore camouflage hunting thermals to stay warm on the final day.

“I wear these back home, in my small hick town that no one knows about,” Stevens said with a smile. “(Our team) been working on staying positive, so we felt like we would have a leg up on everyone because it was so cold. There were a couple of times when I had to check myself, when I sat back and told myself there was a lot of golf left and I could get back in this.”

Stuart Smallwood and Tyler Thomas finished in a tie for 21st at 11-over to lead Texas State, and UTSA’s J.J. Lindsey and Ryan Werre were a stroke back.utsaoakhills_winners

Kyle Stevens (left) signs his scorecard after winning individual honors.


About longlostgolfer

This is the correspondent in San Antonio.
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