By Ben Everett | Sports Writer
Baylor men’s golf received a boost in its lineup when sophomore Cooper Dossey returned from a wrist injury to compete in the Aggie Invitational over the weekend.
Dossey shot 20-over 236 to finish in 61st place in his first tournament of 2018, as the Bears finished in seventh place overall.
Despite the poor finish, head coach Mike McGraw said Dossey’s game is surprisingly clean.
“His game honestly looks pretty good for someone who hasn’t played for 10 weeks,” McGraw said.
The program has had just 14 All-Americans in history, and Dossey received that nod last year after a sensational freshman campaign.
McGraw said Dossey’s absence in the lineup was palpable, so adding him back is huge.
“Without having Cooper in the lineup, that’s a big hole because he was an All-American last year,” McGraw said. “I know Cooper is going to be a shot in the arm. We’ve been knowing that for a month and a half while we’ve been waiting for him to get back.”
Possessing a naturally steep golf swing, Dossey injured his wrist over time, and the breaking point came this semester when he received a cortisone shot.
Dossey said doctors weren’t sure what exactly was wrong. No surgery was required, but he had to take some time off.
“I tore some ligaments or cartilage,” Dossey said. “They weren’t exactly sure what the injury was. Just from overuse. I had to give it a month to heal and then I had to give it another month so I could let it keep healing and not push it.”
Dossey said the whole injury process has made him more grateful for the game of golf.
“It was definitely hard at the beginning,” Dossey said. “But it put a lot of things into perspective. I learned a lot about myself and the reasons why I chose to play golf again. I think I’m a lot happier on the golf course. Thankful to be out here. Grateful for the gifts God’s given me.”
In the fall, Dossey had a 70.42 average and won the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate by four shots.
The Bears have competed in four tournaments since then, and Dossey has been sidelined in each one.
McGraw said Dossey’s injury has opened up healthy competition for spots in the lineup.
“As bad as its been for Cooper Dossey having the wrist injury and not being in the lineup for the last four tournaments,” McGraw said, “it’s really been good because we’ve had three guys competing for two spots.”
May said having Dossey back is critical, but the experience gained by the freshmen and sophomores in his absence was invaluable.
“It’s great having him back,” May said. “He adds a dynamic to the team that wasn’t there. That being said it was good that he was out because he gave other guys much needed experience, but having him back is very important.”
With just one tournament left until postseason play begins, McGraw is hoping Dossey’s return can have a major positive impact.
“There’s a residual effect in a positive way when you get an All-American back in the lineup and that is one, he’s probably going to save us a few shots,” McGraw said. “But there’s also a sort of unspoken thing. You know you’ve got another good player in the lineup that hasn’t been playing who proved last year he’s a great player. If he’s healthy, he’ll help us again this spring.”
Baylor will compete in the ASU Invitational starting on Saturday in Tempe, Ariz.