Sept. 13, 2011
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Junior Ryan O’Rear capped off his career-best performance Tuesday with a fourth-place finish, while helping Baylor to a second-place showing at the Wolverine Intercollegiate.
O’Rear shattered his personal 18-, 36- and 54-hole bests to shoot 4-under 209 and posted his career-best finish. The Salado, Texas, native fired a final-round 72 to finish three strokes behind individual champion, Missouri’s Jace Long, who shot a final-round 66. Long (7-under 206) won by one stroke, ahead of second-round leader, Joel Stalter of Cal.
“Ryan didn’t hit the ball that well this week, but was still able to score low all three rounds,” head coach Greg Priest said. “I’m trying to get the guys to understand that you’re not going to hit the ball great every time. You need to stay patient and concentrate on scoring and that’s what Ryan was able to do.
“I knew eventually performances like this from Ryan were going to come,” Priest said. “He’s been very consistent for us; it’s still early in the season, but his best is yet to come.”
Coming off a season-opening tournament win at Turning Stone last week, Baylor entered the final round in third place and was able to hold off Michigan State and finish two strokes ahead of the Spartans for second place. The Bears shot a final-round 289 to finish under-par for the third straight tournament, dating back to the 2011 NCAA Florida Regional. Cal (271-275-283=839) won the Wolverine Intercollegiate by a 12-stroke margin over Baylor (284-278-289=851).
“The course set up a lot harder during the final round,” Priest said. “I thought we were playing pretty well through 11 holes, but we had too many bogeys down the stretch. Even with the high numbers, we were able to hang in there and finish second.”
With a final-round 71, Joakim Mikkelsen concluded the tournament at even-par 213, securing his second straight 10th-place finish. Mikkelsen now has 13 career top-10 finishes and needs one more to tie Aaron Pellegrom (14) for fifth in program history.
“We played well the entire week,” Priest said. “There are a few things that need to be corrected, but I like what I see in the guys.”
After nearly a three-week hiatus from competition, Baylor will return to the course Oct. 1-2 for the Rod Myers Invitational in Durham, N.C.