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Men's Golf Opens Season in Japan

Senior Ryan O'Rear is the only upperclassman in Baylor's season-opening lineup.

TANAGURA, Japan - The Baylor men's golf team opens its 2012-13 season on Tuesday, when the Bears begin play in the Topy Cup at Tanagura Country Club in Tanagura, Japan. The tournament, which features four American teams and six teams from Japan, runs through Thursday.

The three-day, 54-hole event will be hosted on the 6,964-yard, par-70 Tanagura Country Club Course. In addition to Baylor, the eight-team field includes Oregon State, Pacific, San Diego, and four collegiate teams from Japan.

"We've tried to get in this tournament for a long time, and with only four teams going it is pretty selective," head coach Greg Priest said. "Our number got drawn this year so it's a good opportunity for us."

Baylor, which advanced to its 15th consecutive NCAA Regional appearance in 2012, returns seven letterwinners from a year ago. Priest's season-opening lineup features senior Ryan O'Rear, sophomores Mikkel Bjerch-Andresen, Kyle Jones and Niclas Mansson and freshman Andreas Gjesteby.

O'Rear, a senior from Salado, Texas, is the most experienced member of a young Baylor lineup. The three-year letterwinner has as many years of collegiate experience as the rest of the season-opening lineup combined.

"(Ryan O'Rear) lost a little bit of confidence and he went through a little bit of a swing change, but he got it all worked out and is playing good right now," Priest said. "Hopefully he goes back to old form."

Tuesday's opening round tee times are to be determined, with each team beginning on the first tee. Wednesday's second round and Thursday's final round will also begin on the first hole.

The 2012-13 Bears also return three-year letterwinner Jerry Ruiz, two-year letterwinner Matthew Seligmann and sophomore Filippo Zucchetti. In addition to Gjesteby, a freshman from Drammen, Norway, the Bears also welcome freshmen Scott Terrell (Houston) and Charles Neel White (Austin, Texas).

"I feel good about the season," Priest said. "We definitely have some good players. It's just time for them to step up and see what they can do."

Baylor also has a new member of the coaching staff, with Ryan Blagg in his first year as the Bears' assistant coach. Blagg was a member of Priest's 1998 NJCAA national champion team at Tyler Junior College. Prior to joining the Baylor staff, Blagg spent two seasons coaching at Houston Baptist.

Follow the official twitter feed of Baylor men's golf, @BaylorMGolf, for updates throughout the tournament.



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