Mike McGraw

Mike McGraw

Baylor Athletics photo

BRYAN — As drivers go, the one that will take the Baylor men’s golf team back to the NCAA Championships is the Bears’ favorite in the bag.

Baylor clinched a spot in the NCAAs for a third consecutive season by finishing third in the 13-team field at the Bryan (Texas) Regional. The Bears had a 54-hole total of 7-under 857 at Traditions Golf Club. They finished behind only host Texas A&M (minus-27) and Clemson (minus-18).

“This week sort of feels like PGA Tour school,” Baylor coach Mike McGraw said. “It really only has two results, two outcomes, and we got the good one. We played well, and it wasn’t even close as far as qualifying. I don’t think we played our best golf, but I’m okay with that.”

No. 29 UCLA (+2) and No. 23 Kentucky (+10) also earned NCAA Championship berths by virtue of top-five finishes.

Baylor sophomore Cooper Dossey and senior Matthew Perrine both shot 1-under 71 in the final round to top the Bears. Dossey finished in seventh in the 75-player field at 7-under 209, and now has shot par or better in nine of his 10 career postseason rounds.

Perrine had 36 pars across 54 holes, best on the team, and finished in 14th at 1-under 215.

Junior Braden Bailey posted a final round of even-par 72, and just like in Tuesday’s second round, he birdied the 16th and 18th holes to get back to even-par. Junior Garrett May carded the Bears’ final counting score on Wednesday with a 1-over 73. Bailey and May finished tied for 19th place at 1-over 217. Freshman Ryan Grider shot a final round of 2-over 74 and finished tied for 40th place at 7-over 223.

The trip to the NCAA Championships will mark the eighth appearance in school history, and the first time the Bears have gone in three straight years. That tournament is slated for May 25-30 at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

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