March 4, 2010
LAREDO, Texas - Defending Border Olympics champion Baylor will try for its fourth tournament title in six years when the men's golf team participates in the event Friday and Saturday.
Baylor won the 2009 edition of the Border Olympics by seven strokes, while both Bill Allcorn and Cody Paladino finished in the top 10 individually. The Bears have won the Border Olympics seven times in the Big 12 era, including 2005, 2006 and 2009 under head coach Greg Priest.
"Our team has always played well at the Border Olympics and we hope that is the case again this year," Priest said. "We had a very good first tournament at UTSA, but we need to improve in several areas."
The 54-hole tournament will be held at the par-72, 7,125-yard Laredo Country Club. The first 36 holes will be played Friday, followed by the final 18 holes Saturday. Baylor will participate in the 16-team field that includes host Houston, Air Force, Arkansas, Auburn, Lamar, New Mexico State, North Texas, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Rice, Texas State, UT Arlington, UTEP, UTSA and Washington State.
"Hopefully we have been able to improve," Priest said. "I really like this team's work ethic and attitude and I think they are ready to play."
For the second consecutive event, Baylor's lineup will feature sophomore Joakim Mikkelsen, junior Payne Gniewek, junior Cody Paladino, sophomore Lorenzo Scotto and freshman Jerry Ruiz. Salado, Texas, native Ryan O'Rear and junior Michael McKinley will participate at the Border Olympics as individuals.
O'Rear and McKinley will both be making their second appearances as individuals this season. O'Rear debuted at the William H. Tucker Intercollegiate last September, while McKinley finished tied for 10th at the Baylor Intercollegiate in last October.
Mikkelsen leads the Bears in stroke average (72.00), score vs. par (0.33), rounds of par or better (10) and top-25 finishes (six). Gniewek ranks second to Mikkelsen in all four categories.
In Baylor's spring opener in February, Mikkelsen and Scotto each finished tied for 11th at 6-over 219, helping the Bears to a third-place finish at the UTSA Invitational. Gniewek and Ruiz, who was making his Baylor debut, both tied for 16th - one shot behind Mikkelsen and Scotto at 7-over 220.