Baldwin, UCO hold off Yanovitch, NSU to win Broncho Invitational at Rose Creek

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Bennett Baldwin
Bennett Baldwin

EDMOND (March 21) – A clutch finish enabled Central Oklahoma to hang on for the team title in the Broncho Invitational that wrapped up Tuesday at the wind-swept Rose Creek Golf Club, with Bennett Baldwin claiming medalist honors to make it a clean sweep.

The Bronchos were 3-under-par on the final hole and ended up beating Northeastern State by two strokes in the 16-team tournament. UCO closed with a 300 to finish three-trips around the 7,048-yard, par-72 layout with an 894 total.

The RiverHawks came in at 896, followed by Southwestern Oklahoma (911), Harding (913) and Washburn (913).

It’s the first win of the season for UCO, which now has seven top-six finishes in nine tournaments.

Baldwin shot a final-round 74 to finish at 219 in winning his first collegiate title, clipping NSU’s Christian Yanovitch by one stroke.

All five starters finished in the top 20. Kyle Hickey closed with a 75 and Caleb Kimmel a 76 in tying for ninth at 225, while Evan Griffith (75) was 15th at 227 and Dylan Henderson (77) 18th at 228.

The Bronchos had three others playing in the tournament as individual medalists. Ross Taylor led that group, tying for sixth at 223 after a final-round 79, while Riley Harris shot 77-244 and Brady Wicker 87-260.

“I’m really proud of what this group was able to do the past two days,” head coach Derrick Thompson said. “It was super tough out there both days with the wind, but we stayed patient and kept our mistakes to a minimum.

“It’s a big win for the team and Bennett. He got off to a great start and made a lot of clutch putts. Hopefully this will give us some good momentum for the rest of the season.”

Baldwin started final-round play on No. 1 and opened with five straight pars before birdieing the par-4 sixth. He followed with three more pars for a one-under 35 on the front, then made three bogeys in the first seven holes coming in before finishing with two clutch pars.

Hickey (No. 1), Kimmel (No. 18) and Griffith (No. 2) all birdied their final hole of the day to keep the Bronchos ahead of NSU in the team race.

The RiverHawks had pulled into the lead before UCO rallied on the 18th hole.

“I’m proud of our guys’ grit, toughness, and perseverance,” head coach Scott Varner said.   In those last two rounds, we made up 16 shots in very adverse conditions.  We drew even with one to play and made some birdies at the end.  We didn’t lose; UCO regrouped and won in the end.”

Yanovitch shot a 220 (74-73-73) with nine birdies and 33 pars.  Carlos Gomez held his ground and ranked fifth, carding a 222 (77-71-74).

Ryan Morant finished in a three-way tie for fifteenth place with a score of 227 (76-75-76).  Gabe Replogle moved up eight places to a five-way tie for 18th with a final score of 228 (78-76-74).  Brett Wilcoxen turned in a 231 (79-77-75) moving him up ten places to an eight-way tie for 25th place.

After Tuesday’s MIAA-designated event, the RiverHawks now lead the regular season standings with 26 points, a half point ahead of Washburn and one point in front of Missouri Southern.  Yanovitch is in the race for MIAA Player of the Year, holds 30.5 points, and leads UCO’s Bennett Baldwin, who has 30.  The final MIAA-designated event will be the three-day golf championship in Bolivar, Missouri, on April 17-19.

Northeastern State closes its regular season in Phoenix, Arizona with the Palm Valley Classic on April 3-4.

Southwestern OSU registered its second consecutive third place finish this spring and the third time they’ve been inside the top-3 this season.

Anders Strand shot 73-75 to tie for ninth, one shot ahead of teammate Conner Boydston.


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