After outscoring every other team in the field by at least nine shots in the final round of the NCCGA Spring National Championship on Sunday, Baylor claimed an overdue victory. The Bears fell nine shots short of Michigan at the Fall National Championship, and wouldn’t let it happen again.
Wind gusted and temperatures dropped below 50 at Cyrstal Springs Resort in Hamburg, N.J., as Baylor players kept it close to par. The Bears posted a 13-over 373 in the play-eight-count-five format. All five of Baylor’s counting scores were 76 or better. This marks the first national title in Baylor program history.
Baylor club president Matt Brugner said the team lost a few crucial players after last fall’s chamionship but gained talented replacements, too. Many teams fly in last-minute for the 36-hole championship weekend, but Baylor came early.
“We worked really hard in the past month or so getting everybody excited, but staying calm about it,” Brugner said. “Then just making a really good trip of it. Coming up early, getting a practice round in and taking our time to play well.”
Baylor shaved 10 shots off its first-round 383. The Bears played Crystal Springs’ Wild Turkey Course in Round 1 then teed it up at the Ballyowen Course for Round 2. At 41-over 756 for the weekend, the Bears were 18 shots ahead of National University. New Hampshire was another shot back in third, and Virginia finished fourth at 67-over 782. First-round leader North Carolina State dropped to sixth.
“We felt really confident on this course,” Brugner said. “I thought it set up a lot better for our guys. We play courses like this in Texas where the wind is blowing a lot, but there is not too much trouble off the tee.”
Baylor got its lowest score from Dave Pytel, who contributed a 1-over 73 that included six birdies.
“The wind and the cold were a little bit of a struggle at first, but I was able to overcome it and post up a good number,” Pytel said.
On the individual leaderboard, West Virginia’s Mason Short slipped out of a tie with Pittsburgh’s Spencer Kuhn to take the outright title. Short and Kuhn entered the final round tied for first at even-par. Short double-bogeyed the par-3 10th hole to start the round but righted the ship after that. Even with a birdie on his final hole, the par-3 14th, Kuhn couldn’t overtake him.