INDEPENDENCE, Mn. – The Baylor men’s golf team shot 6-over-par 290 in Monday’s final round to win the 10th-annual Gopher Invitational, which was Mike McGraw’s first tournament as BU head coach. The Bears ran away with the tournament, finishing at 10-over-par 862, which was 16 strokes ahead of second place California.
“It was a full team effort,” head coach Mike McGraw said. “Everyone’s score counted at some point during the week, and that part you like because there is balance. The main thing is they handled a tough golf course in really tough conditions. The wind blew up to 25 mph today, so it was blowing their golf balls around. There is a lot of native grass and tough spots to be in, and we avoided most of those and played a pretty good tournament.”
The tournament title was Baylor’s first since claiming the UTSA Oak Hills Invitational Championship on Feb. 11 last season. Four of five Baylor players finished among the top-15 individuals, and all five finished with in the top-30. Senior Kyle Jones shot 2-over in his final round to finish in a tie for third place at even-par for the tournament. Jones has now finished in the top-10 individuals in the first tournament of the season three out of the last four years.
Joining Jones in the top-10 individuals were two other Baylor seniors. Mikkel Bjerch-Andresen tied for fifth place at 2-over par after a closing round of 2-over 73, and Filippo Zucchetti tied for seventh place after shooting 1-under 70 in his final round.
“Filippo had a great final round,” McGraw said. “He actually played good all three rounds, but he was able to put together an under-par round today, which in the wind was quite remarkable. I don’t think there were very many under par rounds today.”
Junior Andreas Gjesteby tied for 12th place at 7-over par after his final round of 5-over 76. Niclas Mansson moved up 10 places on the leaderboard into a tie for 30th place after shooting a closing round of 3-over par 74.
“The only expectation I am going to have is that they prepare well,” McGraw said. “You can’t control what you shoot. If you could we would all shoot 18-under par every round. They can control how they prepare, though. We will spend this evening celebrating, but tomorrow when we wake up we are going to start the preparations to play the next event. I think if they continue to prepare well, and with the amount of talent and the synergy that they have being around each other, I think they will get some good results this year.”
The Bears travel to Olympia Fields, Ill., for the Fighting Illini Invitational. This three-day tournament tees off on Friday and will be played at Olympia Fields Country Club. Follow @BaylorMGolf on twitter for updates throughout the season.