By Jerry Hill
Baylor Bear Insider
STILLWATER, Okla. – Like a losing politician on election night, Baylor women’s golf coach Jay Goble had his concession speech ready with about two holes left in Friday’s final round at the Cowgirl Classic.
The top-ranked Bears trailed Texas Tech by five shots going into the round and were down by as many as nine. But, freshmen Britta Snyder and Rosie Belsham both birdied their final hole and Diane Baillieux rolled in back-to-back 10-foot par putts after chipping in for a birdie on her 16th hole to miraculously grab victory from the jaws of defeat.
Shooting 7-over 295 in the final round, Baylor edged Tech by a single stroke with a 54-hole total of 27-over 891. Redshirt senior Elodie Chapalet won her sixth collegiate medalist honor and first at Baylor, finishing at 1-under-par 215, and helped the Bears win their third-consecutive team title.
”The only time all day we were leading was the very last time the leaderboard flashed up,” said Goble, who has helped Baylor win 14 tournaments in 10 seasons. “About the last 10 minutes of the day, I saw three amazing putts go in the middle of the hole. Those might have been the three putts that changed it all for us. We were down the whole day until those last couple of putts.”
Texas Tech was second at 892 (28-over), followed by Oklahoma State (899), Kansas State (923), North Texas (929), Kansas (935), TCU (935) and BYU and Iowa State tied for eighth at 948.
After winning its first two tournaments of the year by a combined 42 strokes, this one was much more of a test for Baylor, obviously.
And the Bears made their dramatic end-of-the-round comeback on a day when temperatures dropped 40 degrees from the day before, falling to 45 degrees with 25-mph winds blowing out of the north.
”Thankfully, the rain went through in the middle of the night, so we didn’t get stuck in the cold and the rain, which would have been miserable,” Goble said. “It was just cold.”
Battling through difficult weather conditions on what is already a challenging course, Chapelet said it was “almost like playing a different golf course between yesterday and today.”
”I think the key on this golf course is just avoid big mistakes and big numbers,” said Chapelet, who carded 35 pars and 10 birdies with nine bogeys over three rounds. “And I think I did a good job with that. I didn’t have any double-bogeys, which was nice.”
Goble called Chapelet’s 1-under total for the tournament “off-the-charts good.” Despite bogeys on the last two holes, she won by three shots over Texas Tech’s Sofia Garcia.
”It was amazing how great she played,” Goble said. “It’s a golf course where you have to be patient, you have to let some of the annoying things roll off your back, because you’re going to get a bad break, you’re going to miss a putt and the wind’s going to take your ball somewhere where you didn’t expect it to. That’s pretty normal for Karsten Creek.”
While Chapelet earned honorable mention All-America honors in a COVID-shortened 2019-20 season, recording the fourth-best single-season stroke average in program history (72.43), Goble said her putting was holding her back.
But, no more. She had 26 putts in each of Thursday’s first two rounds and has turned a weakness into a strength.
”She’s a fantastic golfer,” Goble said. “She plays a game that can translate well to the next level, and she can be as good as she wants to be.”
This one, though, took a total team effort. Bailleux bounced back from an opening-round score of 80 to record four birdies in a round of 1-over 73 that moved her into a tie for 16th with Snyder at 15-over 231.
”Diane, who usually struggles with putting quite a bit, chips in on her 16th hole for birdie and then makes two left-to-right 10-footers (for par) on her 17th and 18th holes,” Goble said. “And they just went right in the middle of the hole. People were stepping up today, and it was really cool to watch.”
Snyder’s 3-over 75 in Friday’s round matched redshirt junior Gurleen Kaur, who finished 13th at 10-over 226 after winning medalist honors in the first two tournaments and earning a No. 1 ranking by Golfweek. Belsham birdied her final hole to shoot 2-over for the day and tying for sixth at 6-over 222 for her first top-10 finish.
”With Gurleen not playing her best this week, everybody else stepped up a little bit,” Goble said. “But even Gurleen, she made probably a 12-footer for par on her last hole. Again, I was prepared to give one speech and then ended up giving them a totally different one, because the determination and will to win kind of took over. It just shows how good they are.”
Baylor, will finishes the team portion of its fall schedule undefeated, will play in the Kissing Tree Invitational individual tournament Nov. 1-2 in San Marcos, Texas.