By Ryan Daugherty
The Baylor men’s golf team will head to Goodyear, Ariz., for the Desert Shootout for the first time in program history. The tournament will be played today through Saturday at the Palm Valley Golf Course and will also be the Bears’ first out-of-state tournament of the spring.
Every team will play 18 holes each day and play will start at 9:30 a.m. each day as well. Golfstat.com will have live scoring for those interested in keeping track of the Bears’ activity.
The Bears enter the tournament ranked No. 41 in the nation and will have six golfers compete. Sophomores Filippo Zucchetti, Kyle Jones, Mikkel Bjerch-Andresen and Niclas Mansson will be joined by senior Matthew Seligmann to make up the Bears’ lineup. Freshman Andreas Gjesteby will be competing as an individual.
Gjesteby said that individually he can do well and that his teammates can achieve similar success as well.
“I feel that if I believe in myself and compete all the way, I can win the tournament,” he said. “As for the team, I think our chances are good as long as we keep competing and have 100% focus on each shot.”
The Bears have competed in three tournaments this year. These include the UTSA Oak Hills Invitational in San Antonio where they finished third overall and sophomore Kyle Jones won the tournament as an individual, the Bayou City Collegiate Championships in Houston where they tied for fifth overall, and the Border Olympics in Laredo where they finished fifth overall.
The Desert Shootout will be hosted by the University of Denver and will include 14 other teams not including Baylor and Denver.
The other teams competing are No. 19 Illinois, No. 39 Tulsa, No. 42 BYU, Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Idaho, Kansas, Kansas State, Nebraska, New Mexico State, Southern Utah, Wichita State and Wyoming.
Gjesteby is excited for the tournament but he still acknowledges that he has parts of his game to work on.
“I haven’t felt comfortable from the tee box all the time which has cost me some shots,” he said. “From the last tournament I have to improve my putting. I missed a lot of short putts. I also need to work on my short game.”
Senior Jerry Ruiz will not be traveling with the team, but he still practiced this week along with the six golfers heading to the tournament. He said that the team has a good chance of getting a win.
“We practiced on Monday for about five hours to get ready because Tuesday was a travel day,” he said. “The team has always played well in Arizona and I think they are ready to step up and finish strong to get a win.”
Confidence seems to be a common theme throughout the team. Seligmann said he feels good about this tournament and anything but first place would be a loss.
“I feel really good about my game after last tournament and I just need to keep it going,” he said. “I think the team will win this tournament and anything less would be a disappointment,” he said.