Above photo of Andrew Baucum courtesy of Aaron Rodeffer and the UMHB Athletics Department
GRANBURY, Texas- Coming off an ASC title and a national championship appearance, expectations were high for the UMHB men’s golf team entering the 2021 fall slate.
The Cru returned three from its five player lineup who competed at the national championship in May and earned the program’s eighth conference title in the spring.
Head coach Jordan Cox’s squad delivered on those expectations through six tournaments in the fall, winning four of them, including the ASC preview on Tuesday afternoon.
The Cru, in second place after day one, shot a -7 on Tuesday to win the tournament by 21 strokes (-6, 570). Five Crusaders tallied Top-10 finishes, including Harrison Jaeger and Andrew Baucum, who tied individually for first with a -5 (139) after 18 holes.
The tie in the top spot led to a playoff hole, which Baucum won with a birdie. The two competitors started on hole one, a par four. They each opened the critical hole with impressive drives down the fairway. Jaeger then pulled his next shot, which traveled 127 yards, slightly to the left, setting up a 30-foot putt opportunity. But Baucum also had a solid second shot of nearly 109 yards, which put him in a position for a putt of close to 14 feet. Jaeger’s putt for birdie came up short, and Baucum captured the title by draining the birdie putt.
Depth proved to be a key element in UMHB’s success this fall. Multiple true freshmen have stepped up to record notable performances, including Jaeger and Baucum.
“We knew going in, that the depth of our team was going to be one of our strengths,” UMHB head coach Jordan Cox said prior to the ASC Preview. “And that has certainly proven to be the case so far this fall.”
One prime example of that depth came in UMHB’s victory at the Tempest Intercollegiate on Oct. 4-5. Jaeger, an Austin native, did not even compete as part of the Cru’s five-player lineup. Instead, he played out of an individual spot, and ended up winning the individual title by one stroke, finishing at an even 216 through three rounds.
“As the comfortability goes up, especially for the freshmen, I think you’re to see more and more of that begin to emerge,” Cox said.
Jaeger’s remarkable performance earned him a spot in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. That can only be earned by tallying “a finish position earning at least 6.5 ranking points in an event; excluding team match play events.” He is ranked 5,701 at the time of writing, but considering that over 10,000 players from 102 countries are ranked, it is a notable accomplishment.
“That’s exactly the word he used, ‘Cool’, when I informed him about [the ranking],” Cox said when asked about Jaeger’s reaction to the ranking. “He’s a mild-mannered guy. He wants to do really well, and takes everything in stride.”
Jaeger followed up his success with a remarkable showing over both rounds of the ASC Preview. He found himself in a tie for sixth after Monday’s action, having shot an even 72, before posting a 67 on Tuesday. It was the lowest score recorded in round two.
Baucum, named the ASC Player of the Week after his fifth-place finish at the Dallas Univ. Crusader Classic on Oct. 19, opened his final performance of the fall with a score of -1 (71) in the first round. He shot a 69 on Tuesday, before birding in the one-hole playoff to earn his second win of the fall.
While Jaeger and Baucum each carded notable performances on day two, perhaps no Crusader fared better on the challenging course on Tuesday than William Sammons. A sophomore, Sammons moved up 22 spots between rounds one and two, firing a 76 on Monday before he shot a 73 in round two. There was plenty of movement in the player leaderboard on Tuesday afternoon, but Sammons had the biggest increase, or decrease, of any of the 80 or so players competing. He finished in a tie for sixth at +5 (149) with senior Kaden Treybig, who was competing out of an individual spot. Parker Mitas tied for eighth, with a +6 (150) to round out UMHB’s top-10 finishers.
UMHB, now at the midpoint of the season, prepares for its spring schedule, and the ASC championship to come. As is standard, the ASC championship is contested at the same location as the fall ASC preview. Nutcracker Golf Club in Granbury, Texas will be the course for the ASC title tournament, set for April 29-May 1. UMHB will be the host program of the 54-hole tournament.