HOUSTON, Texas (Baylor Athletics) Baylor men’s golf won the inaugural Big 12 Match Play Tournament in dominating fashion by defeating Kansas 5-1 in the championship match on Sunday afternoon at Golf Club of Houston Oaks.
The Bears also earned a 4-0-2 win over Kansas State earlier in the day, and BU finished the tournament with an unblemished 5-0 record.
“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,” head coach Mike 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.”
Baylor nearly swept all six matches in the championship against Kansas. Braden Bailey got the Bears on the board first with a 5&3 win over Jake Scarrow. Cooper Dossey put the Bears’ second victory on the board with a 4&3 win over Harry Hillier, and Colin Kober made it 3-0 by knocking off Ben Sigel 3&2, and BU officially clinched the match when Ryan Grider won 2&1 against Charlie Hillier. Garrett May added a 3&1 win over Andy Spencer to give the Bears their fifth win. Mark Reppe was all-square against Drew Shepherd entering the final hole, and Shepherd won that hole to give Kansas its lone point long after the match was decided.
“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.
Bailey led wire-to-wire in his win over Scarrow. Bailey won the first, second and third holes to go 3-up, and he added wins on the sixth and eighth holes to extend the lead to 5-up. Scarrow won the ninth and 13th for his only hole victories in the match, and Bailey finished it off by winning the 15th hole to claim a 5&3 victory.
Dossey traded wins with Hillier early in the round before taking the lead for good by winning the ninth hole to go 1-up. Dossey added wins on the 12th, 14th and 15th holes to finish off the 4&3 victory. Dossey finished the tournament with a perfect 5-0 record in his matches, including wins of at least 3&2 in every match.
Kober trailed for only one hole in his match against Sigel. After Sigel won the third hole, Kober brought it back all-square on the fourth, and he took the lead for good on the seventh hole. Kober extended the lead to 2-up with a win on the eighth, and though Sigel won the 10th and 12th to twice cut the deficit to 1-up, Kober never relinquished the lead, winning the 13th to go 2-up and the 16th to finish off the 3&2 win. Kober joined Dossey in going a perfect 5-0 in his individual matches during the tournament.
Grider didn’t take his first lead until winning the 11th hole against Hillier, but he maintained that lead the rest of the match. Grider added a win on the 12th hole to go 2-up, but Hillier cut it back to 1-up with a win on the 13th. The duo halved the next two holes before Grider built the lead back to 2-up with a win on the 16th hole, and he clinched the 2&1 victory by halving the 17th hole.
May didn’t trail at any point in his match against Spencer, though Spencer brought the match back all-square three different times after May took a 1-up lead. It was all-square through 14 holes, but May put the match away by winning the 15th, 16th and 17th holes to secure a 3&1 win.
Reppe twice faced a 1-up deficit against Shepherd on the front-9, but he brought it back all-square both times and won the ninth and 12th holes to take a 2-up lead. The next two holes were halved to put Reppe 2-up with four to play, but Shepherd won the 15th and 17th to bring it back all-square, and Shepherd secured the win on the 18th hole as the last match still on the course.
Earlier in the day, Baylor won its final pool play match against Kansas State, 4-0-2. The Bears had already clinched a spot in the championship match by going 3-0 over the tournament’s first two days, but Baylor added to its win total without dropping any individual matches against the Wildcats.
Grider earned a 4&3 victory over Roland Massimino, Kober and Dossey both won 3&2 over Jeremy Gandon and Ben Fernandez, respectively, and May won 2-up against Jacob Eklund. Reppe and Bailey played all-square against Kyle Vance and Will Hopkins, respectively.
All told, the Bears went 20-5-5 in the tournament, recording wins over Texas (3-1-2), Oklahoma (4-1-1), Iowa State (4-2), Kansas State (4-0-2) and Kansas (5-1). Dossey and Kober posted perfect 5-0 records in individual matches during the tournament. May went 3-1-1, Grider posted a 3-2 record and Bailey and Reppe recorded identical marks of 2-1-2.
The tournament title was the fourth conference championship in program history. Baylor’s last conference title came at the 2001 Big 12 Championship, and prior to that the Bears won Southwest Conference championships in 1957 and 1966.
Texas defeated Oklahoma State 3-2-1 in the third-place match, TCU took fifth place by knocking off K-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.