Cooper Dossey (Baylor Athletics photo)
Two teams entered the OFCC/Fighting Illini Invitational undefeated, and two teams left that way, too. After a thrilling finish at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club on Sunday, Baylor and Georgia Tech shared one of the biggest titles of this early part of the season.
Baylor had a one-shot lead on Georgia Tech to start the day, but Tech closed with a 1-over 281 to Baylor’s 2-over 282 to pull even. Both teams finished the week at 6 over.
Georgia Tech was making a solid charge on the back nine on Sunday, up until the final two holes. Eight birdies from Nos. 10-16 had given the Yellow Jackets an advantage, but the team’s counters went 6 over on those holes while Baylor’s men played them in 4 over. It was ultimately the difference.
Baylor’s Cooper Dossey, who won the individual title for his third piece of collegiate hardware, had a similar experience. He was 5 under by the time he reached No. 17 tee, but with a double bogey and a bogey, fell back to 68. He was 4 under for the week.
"This win is big for our program and for these young men," Baylor head coach Mike McGraw said. "They are building some confidence and momentum. I am very, very pleased."
As for Georgia Tech, Noah Norton and Andy Ogletree, the U.S. Amateur champion, led the team with a tie for ninth individually. Both were 2 over. Ben Smith was T-14 another shot back.
“I felt like we met the challenge of this golf course and the weather conditions pretty well Saturday and Sunday,” Georgia Tech head coach Bruce Heppler said. “We got more rain and wind today, and the last hole is very tough. This was a great test for us, both with the golf course and the strength of the teams in the field, and we came through it very well. Proud of Ben Smith today, he had his best tournament and gave us a round that we really needed."
The Olympia Fields event traditionally features the top teams in the nations, and this year was no different. That made it a good place to see how the best teams stack up.
With redshirt senior Sahith Theegala back in the lineup this week, Pepperdine finished barely behind Georgia Tech and Baylor. Led by Theegala (T-4) and freshman William Mouw (third), the Waves were 9 under as a team.
North Carolina, the next-closest team, was seven shots back at 16 over while host Illinois and Texas A&M tied for fifth at 19 over.
Oklahoma State, returning this year without four of its starters from last season, made a second-round surge with a 5-over 285 – the second-best round of the day on Saturday – but settled into a tie for 12th in the 15-team field with a 17-over final-round performance.
Information from Georgia Tech Athletics and Baylor Athletics used in this report
ABOUT THE Fighting Illini Invitational
54-hole elite collegiate event hosted at Olympia
Country Club by the University of Illinois. Olympia
Fields has hosted the 2015 U.S. Amateur. two U.S.
Opens, two PGA Championships, five Western Opens
and a U.S. Senior Open.
View Complete Tournament Information