Baylor men’s golf secures 4th-place finish at Big 12 Championship

Baylor men's golf was one of four teams to have three or more players finish under par in the final round, joining Texas, Texas Tech and Cincinnati. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Tyler White | Sports Writer

Baylor men’s golf took fourth place in the Big 12 Championship after three days and four rounds of golf on Wednesday at Whispering Pines in Trinity. The Bears will now look toward their NCAA Regional placement following the strong outing at the conference tournament.

The Bears found themselves in fourth place after quick starts by graduate student Johnny Keefer and freshman Davis Ovard the first two rounds of the tournament. Keefer finished the first round 4-under despite a 3-over second round, and Ovard shot a 1-over and even-par in the two rounds.

The Bears dropped to sixth place at the end of day two, but Ovard stood out individually. Ovard carded a 2-under performance in round three, which made him the first Baylor freshman since 2010 to record two straight rounds at par or better in their Big 12 Championship debut.

On the final day, three Bears chalked under-par scores in the final round: Keefer, junior Zach Heffernan and graduate student Tyler Isenhart. Baylor managed to place fourth in the conference following the finish, which was the highest placement since 2002.

Head coach Mike McGraw said the low-scoring final round came right when the squad needed it. McGraw said the fact that they were able to pass two teams and finish behind three of the best teams in the country is all he can ask for.

“I think every tournament since the Aggie — even though the finishes might not be first — we know we’re getting better and starting to yield the fruit of hard work,” McGraw said. “We still have a long way to go to be the team we want to be, but you can feel the energy, so I love that.”

The Bears’ score of 1,155 is the lowest 72-hole score in the program’s Big 12 Championship history. Additionally, 3-over is Baylor’s best score in relation to par in championship history.

McGraw said the depth of the team is fantastic. Despite a slow start to the spring season, he said the team has built up a lot of self-belief and is ready to take on whatever regional it gets placed in.

“This team has done a lot of work to rectify a slow start to the spring, and they never gave up,” McGraw said. “It was just — how can we get better? We knew we were better than those finishes early in the spring.”

The Bears will learn their regional destination following the golf selection show at 1 p.m. next Wednesday on the Golf Channel.

Tyler White is a senior Journalism major from Yorba Linda, California, with minors in religion and philosophy. He is most looking forward to developing his writing and reporting craft in the Lariat and to work alongside other writers. As a member of the Baylor Coed Cheer team, he enjoys supporting all Baylor sports. After graduation, he plans on going to grad school and eventually working in publication for the music industry.