Sept. 2, 2011
VERONA, N.Y. - The Baylor men's golf team opens its 2011-12 season Sept. 4-5 with the third annual Turning Stone Tiger Intercollegiate at Turning Stone Resort.
The two-day, 54-hole event will be hosted by Missouri on the par-72, 7,105-yard Kaluhyat Course with 36 holes Sunday and the final 18 holes Monday. In addition to Baylor and host Missouri, the 14-team field includes Binghamton, Bowling Green, Central Connecticut State, Cleveland State, Delaware, Mount St. Mary's, Purdue, Seton Hall, St. Bonaventure, St. Peters, TCU and UConn.
Baylor, which advanced to its 14th consecutive NCAA Regional appearance in 2011, returns seven letterwinners from a year ago, including three of its five starters from its NCAA Florida Regional lineup. Priest's season-opening lineup features seniors Joakim Mikkelsen and Lorenzo Scotto, junior Ryan O'Rear and freshmen Mikkel Bjerch-Andresen and Kyle Jones.
"Hopefully we can start out this season with a win," ninth-year head coach Greg Priest said. "We want to come out of the gates strong because we struggled a bit in the fall and early spring last season," Priest said.
"In order to avoid us having to turn it on the late spring, we need to take care of business from start to finish. Our goal is to improve each week," Priest said."
As a junior in 2010-11, Mikkelsen posted one of the best individual seasons in program history with a 72.35 scoring average in 34 rounds. Mikkelsen also led the Bears in percentage of rounds counted (97.1 percent), score vs. par (1.03) and rounds of par or better (15). The Drammen, Norway, native finished 25th or better in nine of 11 tournaments last season. For his efforts on the course, Mikkelsen collected GCAA/PING All-Central Region honors for the second consecutive season.
Scotto played well last fall before struggling during the spring, carding a 75.15 scoring average in 26 rounds last year. Both Mikkelsen and Scotto garnered Academic All-Big 12 first-team and Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar honors in 2011. O'Rear ranked third on the team last season in both scoring average (73.60) and rounds of par or better (10). The Salado, Texas, product was second to only Mikkelsen in score vs. par (2.20).
"For us to accomplish our goals and get to where we are going, those guys will have to play well and consistently," Priest said. "We'll need that senior leadership from Joakim and Lorenzo. If we play to the level we are capable, we'll be fine."
Bjerch-Andresen and Jones will join Baylor's three upperclassmen in the season-opening lineup. Bjerch-Andresen won the 2010 Titleist Tour Order of Merit and was a member of the Norwegian National Team. Jones, a Snowflake, Ariz., product, led his high school team to three straight Arizona state golf championships, while winning four straight Arizona state individual golf titles.
"I feel really good about this freshman class," Priest said. "I expected them to step in and compete, but to see them jump in the lineup early is nice to see. However, that's qualifying. Now we need that to carry over to tournament play and help us."
TURNING STONE TIGER INTERCOLLEGIATE INFORMATION
Dates: Sun., Sept. 4-Mon., Sept. 5
Location / Course: Verona, N.Y. / Turning Stone Resort (Kaluhyat Course)
Par / Yardage: 72 / 7,105
Field (14 teams): Baylor, Binghamton, Bowling Green, Central Connecticut State, Cleveland State, Delaware, Missouri, Mount St. Mary's, Purdue, Seton Hall, St. Bonaventure, St. Peters, TCU, UConn