By Ryan Daugherty
The Baylor men’s golf team includes nine talented golfers, all of whom are ready to start the approaching season.
Among these golfers is senior Jerry Ruiz.
For three years, Jerry has represented Baylor both on and off the green as a student athlete who does what it takes to succeed.
Now as a senior, Ruiz looks to finish his collegiate golfing career on top.
Ruiz was born in Puebla, Mexico on Dec. 11, 1990.
He played soccer early on but it wasn’t until he was 6 years old that he was introduced to golf.
“It was actually a friend of mine,” Ruiz said. “When I was in elementary school, my best friend used to take golf lessons. I went with him over the summer and we just went to play a lot. A professor tried to get my dad to pay for lessons. Somehow it happened and I ended up playing.”
It didn’t take long for Ruiz to pick up the sport.
In fact, he was already competing in tournaments the same year he was introduced to it.
“My first tournament I was really young, I was 6 years old at the time. I actually got third place. It was at such a young age and then I actually got to win a tournament really soon in my career,” Ruiz said.
In June of 2009, Ruiz competed in the Mexican National Match Play.
He won this tournament, which solidified him as a top five golfer in all of Mexico.
The tournament not only solidified his ranking, but it also earned him an invitation to the Starburst Junior Golf Classic in Waco.
Ruiz won the event, tallying a final score of -6 and it may have been his most important victory to date.
“I like to think the reason I came to Baylor was because I won the Starburst when I came to Waco,” Ruiz said.
He also had other colleges in mind, including the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Pepperdine, Charleston Southern, and Loyola Marymount.
During the spring of 2011, Ruiz posted his career best all-around performance at the Charleston Shootout in South Carolina placing third overall for his first top-five finish.
The tournament was held in the same state where he had attended high school for two years.
Every golfer on the team realizes how talented Ruiz is.
When asked about his skill set, fellow senior golfer and best friend Matthew Seligmann gave Ruiz extremely high praise.
“He is by far the best ball striker I have ever seen that isn’t a pro,” Seligmann said. “If he could putt the way he hits the ball, he would already be a pro.”
While Ruiz is a highly devoted golfer, he is just as devoted academically.
Ruiz, a business major, has been named First Team Academic All Big 12 in two consecutive seasons and was a member of the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll for four straight years.
“Studying has always been big just because it’s most likely what I’m going to be doing the rest of my life,” Ruiz said. “Ever since I was growing up, it was always a big deal with my dad, not to make good grades, but to learn.”
Ruiz’s academic success is noticed by many of his teammates including sophomore golfer Niclas Mansson.
“He’s one of the smartest guys on the team and the team GPA leader,” Mansson said.
Ruiz plans on golfing after Baylor, but intends to work in the sporting industry as well.
“I’m doing the S3 Major so it’s really closely related to sports obviously. I would like to stay in the sporting industry and maybe try to work with the PGA or some other sports organization,” Ruiz said.
The season is just around the corner, but Ruiz will actually be watching from the sideline because he is redshirting this semester.
“The reason I’m redshirting is to get everything to work the way it should be, getting little details to work for me instead of against me,” Ruiz said.
Because he is redshirting, Ruiz is unable to compete in any tournaments this semester, but he is still able to practice with the team.
He still believes his teammates will fare well in the upcoming UTSA Oak Hills Invitational in San Antonio.
“Yeah, I mean the team is pretty strong,” Ruiz said. “Almost everybody that’s travelling has played there before so I think it’s a good advantage to know the course. It’s kind of tricky so I feel like they have good chances of winning.”