May 16, 2009
STILLWATER, Okla. – Trailing fifth place by five strokes entering the day, the Baylor men’s golf team final-round rally fell short as the Bears finished seventh Saturday at the NCAA Stillwater Regional at Karsten Creek Golf Club.
Baylor, which at one point was in fourth place by as many as seven strokes, shot 22-over 310 for the final round, finishing three shots behind sixth-place LSU with a 56-over 920. Host Oklahoma State won the regional crown and will be joined by Arkansas, Chattanooga, TCU and Northwestern in two weeks at the NCAA Championships in Toledo, Ohio.
“I thought we had a great shot of making it through this regional,” head men’s golf coach Greg Priest said. “With Bill going out, I knew that would change our plays a little, but I still felt we could advance to the NCAA Championships.”
“Lorenzo (Scotto) played well through the first two rounds, but he struggled today,” Priest said. “That’s where we could have used Bill’s experience. In the past, we never really competed, but we had a chance through 48 holes.
The Bears finished ahead of Wichita State, Denver, Tulsa, Michigan State, Pepperdine and Oral Roberts in the final standings.
“That what I asked of those guys in the final day – just give us a chance to compete,” Priest said. “We were in the top five most of the day and we competed; I’m proud of their effort.”
Sophomore Cody Paladino recorded the third-lowest score Saturday, firing a final-round 74 to finish tied for third overall with LSU’s John Peterson at 5-over 221. Paladino beat Peterson on the second playoff hole (No. 10) to earn an individual spot at the NCAA Championships.
“Cody played great today,” Priest said. “It’s a hard golf course. To finish last at the Big 12 Championship and then flip it around was unbelievable. He can bounce back; we knew he was capable of that. It’s awesome to see him come back like this.”
Oklahoma State’s Kevin Tway claimed individual medalist honors, finishing the weekend with an even-par 216. OSU teammate Peter Uihlein finished second at 1-over 217. Four golfers finished tied for fifth at 6-over 222.
Paladino open his final round with a birdie on the par-4 No. 10 hole, but finished the front nine on the plus side after bogeys on No. 14 and No. 18. The Kensington, Conn., native bounced back on the back nine with a birdie on the par-5 No. 1 before finishing with back-to-back bogeys on the eighth and ninth holes.
“When we got back from the Big 12 [Championship], I really didn’t think I was going to regionals,” Paladino said. “It was probably the worst week of my life on a golf course. My coach from Connecticut visited me in Waco after we got back from Oklahoma and we worked hard for four days.”
“I got back to the thinks I trust, like my swinging, Paladino said. “Today, I just focused on making pars on every hole I could. No matter how well you play on this course, you won’t make a lot of birdies. I tried to do exactly the same things in the same pattern as I did in the earlier rounds and make as many pars as possible.”
Freshman Joakim Mikkelsen was Baylor’s second-highest finisher, carding an 11-over 227 for the weekend to finish tied for 21st. Redshirt freshman Lorenzo Scotto was one of three Bears with final-round scores in the 80s after a third-round 81 Saturday. Scotto finished tied for 37th at 18-over 234.
Paladino will now head to the NCAA Championships in Toledo, Ohio, May 27-30, at the Inverness Golf Club.
NCAA STILLWATER REGIONAL (Karsten Creek Golf Club; Stillwater, Okla.)
Saturday, May 16, 2009 (final)
INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (BAYLOR)
|1.|| Oklahoma State||+17||296-289-296=881|
|11.|| Michigan State||+73||306-319-312=937|