May 18, 2010
BRYAN, Texas – The Baylor men’s golf team will take aim at its first NCAA Championship berth since 2002 at the NCAA South Central Regional, hosted by Texas A&M.
The 54-hole regional tournament will be conducted Thurs., May 20-Sat., May 22 at the par-72, 7,146-yard Traditions Club Golf Course. The low five teams and the low individual not on those teams will advance to the 113th annual NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship, which will be held June 1-6 in Chattanooga, Tenn.
No. 9 seed Baylor, one of 14 teams tabbed for the NCAA South Central Regional, is making its 13th consecutive NCAA postseason appearance. It also marks Baylor’s second consecutive South Central Regional invitation. Last season, the Bears finished seventh overall at the 2009 NCAA South Central Regional in Stillwater, Okla. Baylor is paired with nine teams ranked in the top 50 of the latest Golfstat standings – No. 3, Texas A&M, No. 10 Texas Tech, No. 16 Georgia, No. 22 North Florida, No. 25 TCU, No. 35 Pepperdine, No. 39 Auburn and No. 48 North Carolina.
Baylor will be making its second trip to The Traditions Club Golf Course this season. Last month, the Bears finished seventh in the Aggie Invitational, while Joakim Mikkelsen tied for sixth overall at 5-under (67-75-69=211).
“Playing on a familiar course like The Traditions can’t do anything but help us this week,” Baylor head men’s golf coach Greg Priest said. “We are one of only four teams in this regional that have played this course so it should help us.”
Joining Mikkelsen in the Baylor lineup are Lorenzo Scotto, Payne Gniewek, Ryan O’Rear and Cody Paladino. The sophomore Mikkelsen leads the Bears in scoring average (72.73), score vs. par (1.05), rounds of par or better (18) and top-10 finishes (five). Both Scotto and O’Rear are coming off solid performances at the Big 12 Championship, where they tied for 12th at 1-over 289.
“We need solid play from our younger guys,” Priest said. “All the tournaments have been warm-ups leading up to this moment. We’re only as good as our fifth man and that’s something we’ve struggled with from time to time this season.
“We need very good play from top to bottom, but the bottom of the lineup has to be there in order to take some pressure off those top guys,” Priest said.
While the Bears did not advance to the NCAA Championships as a team in 2009, Paladino became the first golfer in program history to compete as an individual. Paladino tied for third at the NCAA South Central Regional in Stillwater before finishing 47th at the NCAA Championships in Toledo, Ohio.
Live scoring for each round of the 2010 NCAA South Central Regional will be available at www.BaylorBears.com.
NCAA SOUTH CENTRAL REGIONAL INFORMATION
Dates: Thurs., May 20-Sat., May 22, 2010
Location: The Traditions Club Golf Course (Bryan, Texas)
Host: Texas A&M
Teams (Seeds in Brackets/Automatic qualifiers in parentheses):  Texas A&M,  Texas Tech,  Georgia (SEC),  North Florida,  TCU,  Pepperdine (West Coast),  Auburn,  North Carolina,  BAYLOR,  Tulsa,  Rice,  Wichita State (Missouri Valley),  Georgetown (Big East),  Jackson State (SWAC)
Individuals:  Oscar Zetterwall (New Orleans),  Ken Looper (New Orleans),  Phillipp Fendt (Louisiana-Lafayette),  Scott Kelly (Sam Houston State),  Jonathan Coleman (Grambling)