By Michael Haag | Sports Editor
When senior golfer Luke Dossey woke up Monday morning, he texted his Baylor men’s golf teammates some encouraging words. Dossey said he believed the Bears were destined to dominate the second annual Bear Brawl event that started and finished on Monday at Ridgewood Country Club in Waco.
“I texted the guys this morning, just said that we had a good chance to win a golf tournament but also [to] go dominate one, just with the way that we can play this golf course,” Dossey said.
Baylor, led by Dossey, wound up running away with the overall win thanks to a team score of 2-under 558. Dossey took home a share of the individual title, the first solo win of his career, as he carded a 2-under 138.
Dossey became the first individual champion for the Bears in a team event since Colin Kober and senior Johnny Keefer tied for the individual title at the Rice Intercollegiate in January of 2021. As a team, the success marked Baylor’s first stroke-play victory since that same event in Houston almost two years ago.
The Bears finished with a 17-shot advantage over Oral Roberts University, who wrapped up its day with a 15-over 575. There were eight golfers outside of Dossey that competed in the one-day, 36-hole event, six of them finishing in the top 10.
Head coach Mike McGraw said the expectation going into this event was to dominate, as his group outmatched the opposition a great deal.
“Today, all of these teams were ranked quite a bit behind us in the rankings, so it was incumbent upon us to win by a lot,” McGraw said. “So, that was important for us to do that. Because if you lose it’s really a tough deal.”
Dossey shared the solo trophy with former teammate Brandon Hoff, who is now a graduate student-athlete at Oral Roberts. But Hoff is not only just a former green and gold companion of Dossey’s, as the two go way back to their Austin roots.
“Today was fun and it was fun sharing the title with my good buddy Brandon Hoff,” Dossey said. “Grew up playing junior golf with him. He lives down the street from me back home and so, that was really special.”
Senior Tyler Isenhart trailed those two, as he tied for third place, while sophomore Zach Heffernan came in sixth. It was the best career finish for Dossey, Isenhart and Heffernan on Monday.
For Dossey, he said that despite his standout performance, the ultimate hope was for the group to win its last event of the fall slate.
“The team win was definitely the goal going into this week to finish the semester strong,” Dossey said. “We had shown a lot of improvement from last year just in the couple tournaments we played this semester. So, it’s cool to see a lot of guys stepping up and playing well together as a team.”
This was the second-straight year the men’s golf program has put on the Bear Brawl at Ridgewood Country Club. McGraw said it was cool to have that home course advantage and be able to compete on a course that the team is so familiar with.
“It feels really good to be at home,” McGraw said. “We don’t get to do that very often. And we had some gallery out there, which was great. Guys don’t get to play in front of a home gallery in golf. It’s pretty rare.”
In addition to the top-scoring lineup the Bears put out on the course, McGraw assembled a B-team of four other golfers to get the same rounds in. That B-team finished in fourth place with an 11-over 586.
McGraw said he’s been shifting the lineup around all season and that those four athletes have gained valuable experience so far this fall.
“Well, I think everybody in the team has played in three or four events this year, this fall, which is really a key for me because I think if you don’t get guys playing — even if it’s in a B-team event or whatever — then the development is not taking place,” McGraw said.
As the squad now looks ahead to February 2023 for its next event, McGraw said he will look to utilize a similar approach early on. He said it won’t be the same five guys competing in every event when the first part of the spring comes around.
“We have at least two events in the spring where we can do the same, where all nine guys can play,” McGraw said. “All four of those guys wanted to be on the varsity [team] today. So that’s really a competitive situation.”
For the full Bear Brawl leaderboard and for more info, click here.