KOHLER, Wis. – Baylor men’s golf shot 14-under-par 274 in Wednesday’s final round of the NCAA Kohler (Wis.) Regional, which moved the Bears up to a tie for fourth place at 6-under-par 858 and secured the sixth NCAA National Championship berth in program history.
The top five teams at the regional advanced to nationals, and Baylor rallied to claim the final spot over Idaho (E, 864). The Bears were six shots back of the Vandals with six or fewer holes remaining for each player on both teams, but BU made 13 birdies from that point on to earn the final NCAA Championship berth awarded at Blackwolf Run Meadow Valleys Golf Course.
Illinois (-11) won the regional, followed by Florida (-7) and Arkansas (-7) tied for second, one stroke in front of Baylor (-6) and Florida State (-6). Idaho (E) finished sixth, followed by Memphis (+5), East Tennessee State (+5), Penn State (+10), UCLA (+12), South Dakota State (+15), Kent State (+17) and Campbell (+39).
Matthew Perrine made five birdies over his last eight holes, including a chip-in from off the green on No. 15, and he capped his round by making a putt from about 40 feet out for birdie on No. 18. Braden Bailey also had a strong back-nine, posting three birdies and six pars, and Andreas Gjesteby added two birdies and seven pars on his back-nine. All told, the Bears combined for 17 birdies on the back-nine, more than their totals from either of the first two rounds.
It was a record-breaking performance, as the Bears posted their best-ever score in an NCAA Tournament round and their best-ever 54-hole total at an NCAA Regional.
Bailey shot 4-under 68 in the final round and finished with a team-best 3-under 213, which tied for fifth place individually. Perrine also shot 68 in the final round and tied for 10th place at 2-under 214. Gjesteby and Freddy Andersen both shot 3-under 69 in the final round, with Gjesteby finishing tied for 21st at even-par 216 and Andersen tying for 29th place at 1-over 217. Hunter Shattuck shot 2-over 74 and finished tied for 52nd place at 7-over 223.
- Baylor earned the sixth NCAA Championship berth in program history, the first since 2010 and the first under second-year head coach Mike McGraw. BU previously played in the championship in 1960, 1966, 1967, 2002 and 2010.
- This marked the third time Baylor earned a National Championship berth by advancing through a regional, joining 2002 and 2010.
- Baylor’s 14-under-par 274 was the best round of the regional by any of the 13 teams. The next closest round was Memphis’ 10-under-par 278 in the final round.
- Baylor made 17 birdies on the back-nine in Wednesday’s final round, more than the 16 birdies made in the entire first round and the 11 birdies made over the entire second round.
- Matthew Perrine led the team with five back-nine birdies, followed by Hunter Shattuck with four, Braden Bailey and Freddy Andersen with three and Andreas Gjesteby with two.
- Baylor’s 274 was its best-ever NCAA Tournament round, surpassing the 280 it shot at last season’s Bremerton (Wash.) Regional.
- Baylor’s 54-hole total of 858 was the best NCAA Tournament score in program history, beating the 859 shot in the 2011 Southeast Regional.
- Baylor finished tied for second in par-3 scoring at 5-over 3.08, fourth in par-5 scoring at 23-under 4.62 and seventh in par-4 scoring at 21-over 4.14.
- Baylor finished sixth with 164 pars and seventh with 50 birdies.
- The Bears tied for second in the 13-teams field with three eagles.
- Bailey was one of three players in the 75-player field to make two eagles.
- Perrine tied for second in par-3 scoring at 2-under 2.83 and tied for third with 14 birdies.
- Bailey tied for second in par-5 scoring at 7-under 4.42 and tied for fourth with 38 pars.
STAT OF THE DAY
17 – the number of birdies made by Baylor players on the back-nine, more than the team made over the entire first or second rounds. BU had 16 birdies in the first round and 11 birdies in the second round.
“I feel like this was a big stepping stone for all of them because they had never done it before – nobody on this team had ever played in the National Championship, nobody on this team had ever advanced past regionals, and there was only one freshman. These guys had been around and hadn’t been able to get it done, so it’s a great feeling. I’m really excited for them because of the hard work they’ve put in,” head coach Mike McGraw said. “I always tell the kids that they need to be prepared for something good to happen. It doesn’t really matter if the world is crashing down around you, if you just double-bogeyed, three-putted, whatever, you need to be prepared for something good to happen, and today that good thing happened for us.”
Baylor advances to the 2016 NCAA National Championship, which will be played May 27-June 1 at Eugene (Ore.) Country Club. For live scoring information throughout the tournament, visit www.golfstat.com. Follow @BaylorMGolf on twitter for updates throughout the season.