By Adam Gibson | Sports Writer
Baylor men’s golf took home the Big 12 Match Play Tournament title after going undefeated through the weekend at Golf Club at Houston Oaks in Hockley.
The tournament win was just the fourth conference championship in program history, with Baylor’s last conference title coming from the 2001 Big 12 Championship. Head coach Mike McGraw said he told the team going in that it was going to be a tough test since they were going against good conference teams.
“I told the guys that this would be history because it’s the first time we’ve ever played it, and it is a conference championship,” McGraw said. “It’s a big deal, and they knew it. Match Play brings out the parity in the conference, and there are a lot of really good teams. We beat some great programs this week, and to be able to do that gives us a lot of confidence.”
The Bears’ closest challenge came Friday in their matchup with Texas to start the tournament. Baylor got its first point of the day when junior Cooper Dossey took a 3 and 2 win over Texas senior Steven Chervony. Dossey got an early four-up lead through six holes, but Chervony won the next four holes to bring the match all-square through 10. Dossey then won three of the next four holes and halved two more after that to clinch the victory. By the end of the day, Baylor needed one win to win the matchup with Texas. Sophomore Mark Reppe delivered the win by claiming a 2 and 1 victory over sophomore Drew Jones.
Coming off the first win of the weekend, the Bears did not slow down as they took on the Sooners on Saturday. They got out to a 2-0 lead early in their matches against Oklahoma after junior Collin Kober defeated Oklahoma senior Brad Dalke 4 and 3 and Dossey shot past Oklahoma junior Garett Reband 3 and 2. The Sooners would not back down as they came back to draw the score to 2-1 when junior Riley Casey scored a 3 and 2 win over Baylor sophomore Ryan Grider. The Bears responded with wins from senior Braden Bailey and senior Garrett May to end their first match of the day, securing the Bears’ victory by a final score of 4-1-1.
Later on Saturday, the Bears looked to continue their hot start against the Iowa State Cyclones and did just that as Dossey got the Bears on the board early with a 6 and 5 victory over Iowa State freshman Jackson Kalz. After two losses from Baylor, Reppe solidified the Baylor victory by winning his match one-up against Cylcone sophomore Ricky Costello. The Bears finished 4-2 over Iowa State heading into Sunday morning for their final two challenges of the tournament.
As it took to facing Kansas State on Sunday, the Bears had already clinched a spot in the championship by going 3-0 through the tournament, but that did not hold Baylor back from continuing to fly by the competition as it defeated Kansas State 4-0-2. Grider found a 4 and 3 victory over senior Roland Massimino, Kober and Dossey both won 3 and 2 over senior Jeremy Gandon and junior Ben Fernandez, respectively, and May won two-up against Jacob Eklund.
In the championship against the Kansas Jayhawks, Baylor swept almost all six of its matches. Bailey got the Bears started with a 5 and 3 win over senior Jake Scarrow. Dossey put the Bears’ second victory on the board with a 4 and 3 win over sophomore Harry Hillier, and Kober made it 3-0 by knocking off sophomore Ben Sigel 3 and 2.
Baylor authoritatively finished the weekend with a perfect 5-0 record after taking the championship win over Kansas. All told, the Bears went 20-5-5 in the tournament with both Dossey and Kober going 5-0 in their individual matchups. McGraw said getting up in each match they played was a confidence booster. When the team saw each other do well, McGraw said, that helped push through to taking home the championship.
“We were up in almost every match early on, which was great, and you kind of use that as a springboard,” McGraw said. “When you’re ahead you feel the momentum, and the guys did a really good job this week feeding off of each other.
Texas defeated Oklahoma State 3-2-1 in the third-place match, TCU took fifth place by knocking off Kansas State 3-2-1, Oklahoma and Texas Tech tied 2-2-2 in the seventh-place match, and West Virginia won the ninth-place match 4-2 over Iowa State.
After winning the Trinity Forest Invitational and Big 12 Match Play Tournament titles, Baylor will see if it can keep the winning streak going and wrap up the fall season by hosting the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate in Dallas Oct. 22-23 at Royal Oaks Country Club.