April 21, 2010
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TRINITY, Texas – The Baylor Bears, ranked No. 50 in the latest Golfstat standings, will serve as the host for the 2010 Big 12 Men’s Golf Championship this weekend at Whispering Pines Golf Club. The three-day, 72-hole event will be held on Whispering Pine’s par-72, 7,480-yard course.
The conference championship will begin with 36 holes on Friday, followed by 18 holes on Saturday and Sunday. Teams will tee off on the No. 1 and No. 10 tees at 8 a.m. and 8:50 a.m., respectively, Friday and Sunday, while Saturday’s third round will begin an hour later. Live scoring for the 2010 Big 12 Men’s Golf Championship will be available at www.BaylorBears.com and www.GolfStatResults.com.
“We are excited to host the Big 12 Championship this year at Whispering Pines,” Baylor head men’s golf coach Greg Priest said. “It is the No. 1-rated golf course in Texas so it should prove to be a great test for our guys.”
Pairings for the first round will be No. 1 Oklahoma State, No. 2 Texas A&M and No. 3 Texas starting on the first tee at 8 a.m. No. 4 Texas Tech, No. 5 Baylor and No. 6 Missouri will follow at 8:50 a.m. On the 10th tee, No. 7 Kansas State, No. 8 Oklahoma and No. 9 Iowa State will start at 8 a.m., followed by No. 10 Nebraska, No. 11 Colorado and No. 12 Kansas at 8:50 a.m.
Since winning the Big 12 title in 2001, the Bears have finished in the top five only three times in the last eight conference tournaments. Baylor, which has finished fifth in each of the last two Big 12 Championships, has four top-five finishes in the 13-year history of the men’s championship. Last season, Bill Allcorn led for the first three rounds before finishing second overall at Prairie Dunes. Three Bears – Allcorn, Colton Williams and Joakim Mikkelsen – finished in the top 15 at the 2009 Big 12 Championship.
Entering this weekend at Whispering Pines, Mikkelsen is the only Baylor Bear with previous Big 12 Championship experience. Joining Mikkelsen in the Baylor lineup are junior Payne Gniewek, sophomore Lorenzo Scotto and freshmen Jerry Ruiz and Ryan O’Rear. In two short seasons, Mikkelsen has compiled eight top-10, 13 top-15 and 17 top-25 finishes, while also carding 30 rounds of par or better. The Drammen, Norway, native leads the Bears with a 72.58 stroke average and nine top-25 finishes through 33 rounds. Gniewek (73.58) and Scotto (73.73) rank second and third, respectively, behind Mikkelsen in stroke average.
“I’m very pleased with how the guys came back on the final day at the Aggie Invitational last weekend,” Priest said. “That is what we expect from ourselves each time we tee it up and how we should play each week. We have struggled this spring, but we have finally found our starting five and we feel good about this week.”
Gniewek, Scotto, Ruiz and O’Rear will all be making their Big 12 Championship debuts this weekend at Whispering Pines. Gniewek, who transferred from Michigan State in the fall, played in the Big Ten Championship twice with the Spartans, finishing 22nd in 2007-08 as a freshman and 43rd as a sophomore in 2008-09.
ABOUT WHISPERING PINES GOLF CLUB
Whispering Pines Golf Club is approximately 88 miles north of Houston situated on a spectacular 400-acre property featuring piney woods, creeks, lakes, natural dunes and abundant wildlife. It was named the No. 1 course in Texas for the fourth consecutive year by The Dallas Morning News. The tournament features a 72-hole format on the par-72, 7,480-yard course. A total of 36 holes are played on Friday, followed by 18 days on both Saturday and Sunday.