College notes: Texas Tech’s Kyle Hogan goes from ‘zero confidence’ to Tour invite

Brentley Romine
·7 min read

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Kyle Hogan picked the perfect time to win his first college tournament.

Not only did the Texas Tech senior capture the Maridoe Collegiate Invitational by a shot over Oklahoma State’s Austin Eckroat and Pepperdine’s Dylan Menante on Tuesday, but he also earned an exemption into next month’s Houston Open. It will be Hogan’s first PGA Tour start, and it comes at Hogan’s hometown Tour stop.

“It’s nice to get the win and validate the work that I’ve been doing,” said Hogan, who hails from Cypress, about 30 minutes outside of Houston. “But to also get the exemption, it’s huge to have that opportunity.”

It’s an opportunity that Hogan certainly wasn’t expecting. He had been mired in a nearly three-month-long slump that began when he shot 82 in the final round of stroke play at the Western Amateur to miss out on match play. The struggles continued at the U.S. Amateur, where he beat just one player in the 263-person field, and carried into the fall, as Hogan failed to make the starting lineup for each of the Red Raiders’ first three tournaments.

“It was a pretty rough few months,” Hogan said. “I had about zero confidence for a while there. It started off the tee, but then I lost confidence slowly and it trickled down to every part of my game.”

Hogan’s low point came during the team’s qualifier for its fall opener at Colonial. After just nine holes, Hogan had had enough and walked off the course.

“I couldn’t do it anymore,” said Hogan, who decided to put the clubs away for a bit. His coaches agreed with the decision.

“It was tough to see him work so hard, really play some great golf this summer, and then have it crumble away and lose confidence,” Texas Tech head coach Greg Sands said. “He’s always been real positive, but the game finally kind of broke him. When he got to the point where he couldn’t bring that confidence, he’s like, ‘I need to step away or I’m not going to be productive for myself and the team.’”

Hogan ended up taking five days off. When he returned, he didn’t see instant results – he missed traveling to the Big 12 Match Play and then finished ninth in the team’s qualifier for Maridoe – but Sands could see the signs: Hogan was reinvigorated at practice and nearing a turnaround.

With three individual spots at his disposal, Sands decided to give one to Hogan.

After weeks of grinding away in practice, everything clicked for Hogan at Maridoe, known as one of the toughest tracks in college golf. He opened with a 2-over 74 on a difficult scoring day and then moved into contention with a second-round 68. On the final day, he built a nice cushion before a double bogey on his penultimate hole knocked him back to 1 under.

In the clubhouse after a closing 73, Hogan then had to watch as Eckroat finished up. But the Cowboys’ All-American closed in bogey-birdie-bogey to end up a shot back of Hogan, who now goes from potentially not playing all fall to entering the PGA Tour U conversation. He entered Maridoe ranked 47th but should rise significantly after his win and upcoming Tour start.

“The inner belief has to come from the player … and Kyle’s the one that showed up and said, ‘I’m going to start believing in myself,’” Sands said. “That was the light switch that we saw. He dug it out of the dirt himself, and I was so impressed with his ability to come out and do what he did this week, and on this golf course.”

Added Hogan: “For weeks, my game has just been getting better and better, and I feel like it’s as good as ever right now.”

PGA Tour U

Here are the latest PGA Tour University rankings (click here for the full ranking):

  • 1. John Pak, Florida State

  • 2. Chun An Yu, Arizona State

  • 3. Davis Thompson, Georgia

  • 4. Sandy Scott, Texas Tech

  • 5. Austin Eckroat, Oklahoma State

  • 6. John Augenstein, Vanderbilt

  • 7. Garett Reband, Oklahoma

  • 8. McClure Meissner, SMU

  • 9. Quade Cummins, Oklahoma

  • 10. Trevor Werbylo, Arizona

  • 11. Jovan Rebula, Auburn

  • 12. Spencer Ralston, Georgia

  • 13. Cooper Dossey, Baylor

  • 14. Hunter Eichhorn, Marquette

  • 15. Tim Widing, San Francisco

  • 16. Devon Bling, UCLA

  • 17. Hunter Wolcott, Tennessee

  • 18. Michael Feagles, Illinois

  • 19. Jack Trent, UNLV

  • 20. Matthias Schmid, Louisville

  • 21. Christopher Gotterup, Rutgers

  • 22. Tripp Kinney, Iowa State

  • 23. Luke Schniederjans, Georgia Tech

  • 24. Graysen Huff, Auburn

  • 25. Mason Andersen, Arizona State

Cowboys back in winner’s circle

Oklahoma State’s three-shot victory at the Maridoe Collegiate Invitational was the Cowboys’ first victory since the 2019 NCAA Louisville Regional.

Senior Austin Eckroat tied for second to lead the way for Oklahoma State while freshman Bo Jin shared fourth for his first collegiate top-10 finish.

As for head coach Alan Bratton, he now has 32 team titles since taking over the program in 2013. The Cowboys have also won at least once in seven of Bratton’s eight seasons as head coach.

Gamecocks back up preseason hype

South Carolina proved Wednesday why it should be considered among the favorites to win the NCAA women’s title this spring.

The Gamecocks won The Ally at Old Waverly by five shots over LSU thanks in large part to a bogey-free, 7-under 65 final round from their best player, sophomore Pauline Roussin-Bouchard, who captured the individual title at a whopping 14 under, seven shots clear of Arkansas’ Brooks Matthews, who was trying to win back-to-back titles. Roussin-Bouchard’s 54-hole total set a school record.

South Carolina was coming off a third-place finish at The Blessings.

Short shots

Arizona State might not be playing this fall, but the Sun Devils did have seven players competing unattached at Maridoe. So, where would Arizona State have finished in the team standings? Taking the team’s best possible scenario, the Sun Devils would’ve shot 23 over and slotted third, seven shots behind winner Oklahoma State. Chun An Yu (second), Cameron Sisk (T-3), Ryggs Johnston (T-5) and David Puig (T-9) all notched top-10s in the invitational amateur competition. … While Texas Tech boasted the individual winner, the Red Raiders finished eighth and have an injury concern heading to East Lake. Senior leader Sandy Scott withdrew after the first round of the Maridoe event with a wrist issue and is questionable to tee it up in the East Lake Cup. … Texas junior Cole Hammer tied for seventh to lead the fifth-place Longhorns at Maridoe. It was Hammer’s first top-10 in over a year. … Pepperdine’s Dylan Menante has two runner-up finishes to begin the season after his T-2 showing at Maridoe. … Oklahoma continues to ease Garett Reband back into action after hand surgery. Reband has missed both stroke-play events this fall, but he did play some at the Big 12 Match Play earlier this month. … Little Rock won its home event, the Little Rock Invitational, with a program-record 35-under performance. The Trojans also set a school record by shooting 18 under in the final round. … Baylor’s women’s team looks to win its third straight and close out a perfect fall slate this week at the Cowgirl Classic. The Thursday-Friday event will be played at Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Oklahoma.