By DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor and Ahfaaz Merchant | Sports Writer
Baylor men’s golf will compete in the Nike Collegiate Invitational for the first time as they continue their fall schedule. The Bears are coming off first-place wins at both the Gopher and Fighting Illini Invitationals.
Head coach Mike McGraw said it was really nice to have these victories to start off the year.
“It is actually great,” McGraw said. “Last year, we didn’t get off to this start at all. We played poorly in our first tournaments and kind of dug a hole last year. So we didn’t talk about that but that was my hope, that the guys were ready to play a little bit better at the beginning.”
The Bears have done just that, coming away with first-place finishes in their first two competitions. This is the second time the Bears have had consecutive tournament wins since the 2008-2009 season.
Baylor took the victory at Windsong Farm Golf Club opening the season by shooting 4-over-par 288 in the final to finish first in the 13-team field at 4-under 848. Freshman Johnny Keefer tied for third in his collegiate debut and shot 3-over 74 in the final round.
The Bears tied for first with Georgia Tech at Olympia Fields Country Club, opening the final round four shots back late but shooting 2-over 282 to catch up to the Yellow Jackets.
Senior Cooper Dossey came away with his third career individual title at Olympia Fields, finishing 4-under 206 and tying the tournament lead with 12 birdies across 54 holes after beginning the day one shot back of the individual lead. Dossey said that even though he was grateful for the win he was also excited for his team’s victory.
“It was a really cool win for me,” Dossey said. “But more specifically the team […] I think I am more excited for the team. Although it was a good feeling to get an individual as well.”
Senior Colin Kober also found his name on the leader board with another top-10 finish, tying for seventh place overall and fifth in par-3 scoring at 1-under 2.92.
These wins were huge for the Bears as they hope to carry the momentum into the next tournament at the historic Pumpkin Ridge Golf Course, the site of Tiger Wood’s last U.S. Amateur win. Kober said the team was excited to travel to Oregon to play the course.
“We’ve never gotten to play at it before and we’ve heard great things about Pumpkin Ridge and the entire Portland area, so we’re kind of excited to go back out there and compete against some of the best teams. We just want to go out there and get it started as soon as possible,” Kober said.
The Bears will tee off at the Nike Collegiate Invitational in North Plains, Ore., on Sunday and will round out the tournament on Tuesday.