By Joe Pratt | LTVN Anchor/ Reporter
Baylor men’s golf was one of four squads to play in its Big 12 Championship this week. The Bears finished seventh in a field of 10 teams at Whispering Pines Golf Club in Trinity. The University of Oklahoma took the crown with a cumulative score of 14-under 850. With 45 strokes behind the Sooners, Baylor finished at 31-over 895.
The tournament started Monday, but was suspended due to heavy rainstorms. Play resumed Tuesday morning, and Baylor was back in 10th place. While they were originally supposed to play 72 holes, the format was reduced to 54 with the final round remaining as scheduled for Wednesday. The team was 7-over when play was halted and just one Bear completed nine holes. Junior Johnny Keefer led the team through six even-par holes.
The Bears jumped to a tie for seventh, ending the second round on Tuesday. After picking up the rest of the first round, Baylor was in ninth place at 17-over 305. They met Kansas State University and Iowa State University in seventh with a second round score of 13-over 301.
Keefer was in 19th as an individual at 3-over par. He shot a 3-over 75 in round one and followed that up with an even-par in round two. Keefer picked up birdies at Nos. 9, 12, 14 and 17 with one setback at No. 11.
Next in the green and gold lineup was freshman Drew Wrightson who tied in 32nd place with two rounds of 76 placing him at 8-over. Bogeys at Nos. 11, 13 and 16 on Tuesday afternoon elevated his total to 152.
Fifth-year senior Mark Reppe carded a 3-over 75 and a 5-over 77 to claim one of the thirty two positions alongside Wrightson. In what would be his last collegiate tournament, he started out even through seven in the second round but lost momentum on the back nine with three bogies after his double on No. 7.
Baylor finished strong in its final round, shooting 1-over 289 as a team. Head coach Mike McGraw’s squad finished alone in seventh after improving in each of the last two rounds.
Reppe was the best performer for the Bears on Wednesday with a 2-under 70 to conclude his last go around with Baylor. Starting on the back nine, Reppe fell behind with a 1-over opening nine. Birdies at Nos. 1, 4, 6, 7 and 8 to finish in the red numbers, he was tied for 20th on the individuals leaderboard.
Keefer had a day for himself with a final round score of 1-under 71. He was four places ahead of Reppe in a tie for 16th and was 2-over for the week.
McGraw praised his players for their effort this season as well as previewed his optimism for upcoming years.
“We hoped to plant some seeds for next year – we knew we were not in such good shape this year, if you will. But 1-over-par is pretty good on this golf course,” McGraw said. “I don’t care who you are, whenever you shoot it, that’s a nice number. So, I’m really happy with that. It was great to see Mark go out with a 2-under round today, and Johnny saved every shot he possibly could, that was for sure. I’m really proud of the guys. We didn’t have anything with pride to play for today, and they did that very well, so I’m happy about that.”