On Tuesday, the course at Colonial Country Club looked mostly the way it does every May when the PGA Tour rolls through town.
The tee markers were pushed back. A standard bearer trailed each group. Even the pin placements were the same as they were during the final round five months ago.
Now Thomas Lim will be able to compare the two settings for himself.
The Oregon sophomore shot a 1-over 71 on Tuesday, finishing at 8 under over three rounds to win the inaugural Nike Collegiate Invitational at Colonial.
Lim’s strong finish, which included three birdies in the final five holes, earned him a spot in the 2015 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. It also gave the Ducks a six-stroke win over Stanford in the team competition. Oregon shot 11-over 851 for the tournament.
TCU, hosting its first tournament in Fort Worth since the 1991 Southwest Conference Tournament, finished at 43 over, good for ninth in a 12-team field that included Golfweek top 15 teams Vanderbilt (No. 6) and Georgia (No. 12). TCU, Stanford, Oregon and Oklahoma also entered the tournament ranked in the top 25.
Lim’s late string of birdies Tuesday fueled him past Washington’s Cheng-Tsung Pan, who led by a stroke heading into No. 14.
But then Lim made his move. Facing a breeze, he knocked a 7-iron within five feet of the hole from 168 yards out. He drained the birdie putt, and Pan bogeyed. Both players faced reasonable birdie chances on the 18th green, but only Lim could make his, finishing with a two-stroke lead.
“The whole day, I was just telling myself I need to make one good shot, give myself one good chance at birdie,” Lim said. “[On 14], I was like ‘it’s now or never.’ ”
Senior Andrew Presley was TCU’s low finisher, shooting a 1-under 69 on Tuesday to finish tied for 19th at 9-over 219. After sitting at 3 over for the final round, he caught fire with five birdies on his next seven holes. On No. 3, a 483-yard par 4, Presley drove through the fairway but drilled a wedge 181 yards to the fringe before sinking a 15-foot birdie putt.
“I was feeling pretty good,” Presley said. “I went into the long par 3 No. 4 – it was 230 today – and hit a really good 4-iron about 12 feet from the pin. Ended up missing that one, but that was probably one of my better shots of the season.”
The Horned Frogs were missing defending Big 12 champion Julien Brun, who spent Tuesday competing in the first stage of the Web.com qualifying school. Brun shot 3 under in the first round at Lantana Golf Club. If he makes it through December’s final stage, he’ll turn pro, TCU coach Bill Montigel said.
But Brun’s absence didn’t leave the tournament field without a bevy of stars. In addition to Pan and Lim, Texas’ Scottie Scheffler, who tied for 22nd at the Byron Nelson in May, and Beau Hossler, who tied for 29th at the 2012 U.S. Open, competed. Stanford’s Maverick McNealy, currently third in the Golfweek rankings, finished third at 4 under.
“When we first started our college program at Nike Golf, we identified those programs that we felt like were the very, very best and had coaches that were like-minded about our brand,” said Cricket Musch, a marketing executive for Nike. “We refer to those teams as our elite teams.”