Baker, Mustangs win St. Edward's Invitational titles

Holliday native Jared Baker led MSU to a title Tuesday, while winning his 2nd career individual crown / Source: KAUZ
Holliday native Jared Baker led MSU to a title Tuesday, while winning his 2nd career individual crown / Source: KAUZ

AUSTIN, TX (KAUZ) - Senior Jared Baker rode a hot start to his second career win firing a collegiate low round of 64 for top individual honors at the St. Edward's Invitational played at the par-70, 6,530-yard Onion Creek Club.

"Jared is fearless," MSU coach Jeff Ray said. "He plays with great attitude and great poise. He is such a hard worker. If anyone deserves this, he does."

The 6-under 64 in the lowest round for an MSU golfer since Derek Oland fired a 62 at the West Florida Argonaut Classic in 2013-14 and the lowest to par since Oland notched a 7-under 65 at the Western New Mexico Fall Intercollegiate in 2014-15.

Baker's best tournament score stands as the second lowest 54-hole total to par in school history trailing only Oland's 13-under effort at the aforementioned Argonaut Invitational.

Baker claimed his second career win by marking his sixth and seventh round in the 60s and has now recorded par-or-better scores in 19 of his 83 collegiate competition rounds. He carded scores of 72 and 68 in the first two round on Monday for a three-round total of 204 (-6).

Still, he needed to outlast Missouri Southern's Connor Neil in two playoff holes as the duo matched pars on par-5, 558-yard Hole No. 18 then replayed the hole. This time, Baker marked a par for the win as Neil took a seven after going out-of-bounds.

"It's a tough par-5 which was even more difficult today with a 20-mile-per-hour wind coming at the face," Ray said. "It has an OB down the left side with overhanging trees. Just a tough golf hole."

Baker opened the third round with birdies on the first two holes, then holed out from 80 yards on the par-5, 526-yard Hole No. 5 to go to 4-under. The Holliday native took consecutive bogies on Holes 6 and 7 then recovered with a bogey on Hole No. 8 to return to 3-under.

Baker cranked out three consecutive birdies to start the Back Nine highlighting the run by placing a well-struck 5-iron to within 15 feet on the par-3, 219-yard Hole No. 11 during the run. He rattled in a 15-foot par saver on Hole No. 15 before creating a chance to win in regulation on the 18th green.

"He had a lot of momentum going," Ray said. "He had a great line for a birdie on 18, but the ball lipped out."

Even with Baker on a roll, the Mustangs needed a solid finish as a group to claim their first team victory of the season.

Sophomore Clayton Meyers went even-par over his final 10 holes carding four birdies for a final round 1-over 71. The Llano product marked team countable scores in two of his three rounds playing out of the No. 5 bag for MSU. He finished the tournament tied for 29th with a 9-over total of 219.

"Clayton gave us a great contribution in the second round and again today," Ray said. "All that added up really big."

Senior Thomas Smith battled back from scores of 73 and 77 in the first two rounds to mark a team countable 2-over 72 in the third round. He finished tied for 48th with a 12-over total of 222.

Junior Trip Hobson remained steady with scores of 69, 71 and 75 to tie for 18th with a 5-over 215. Each of his three rounds were counters.

"Tom started out 4-over early then birdied 15 -- the most difficult hole out there," Ray said. "He was really solid and hung in there. He really grinded and gave us a quality score. Trip had another really solid tournament."

Junior Dominick Haskins recorded a team-low score of 68 in the opening round then closed with rounds of 74 and 78 to tie for 35th with a 10-over 220. His 12 birdies ranked amongst tournament leaders.

Freshman Chance Craig tied for 55th with scores of 74, 78 and 74 for a 16-over total of 226.

Midwestern overcame a 12-stroke deficit to edge Cameron by three strokes at the top of the team leader board. The Aggies fired a final-round 297 to slide to a 12-over 852 to tie for second with Texas A&M International.

"It was a great team win with all five guys contributing," Ray said. "This should help us in the region. Hopefully, we have momentum going into the next one as well."

The Mustangs compete in the Dallas Baptist Classic next week at the Hackberry Creek Country Club.

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