April 28, 2003
TULSA, Okla. -
The Kansas State men's golf is staring down its best Big 12 finish ever as the Wildcats head into the final round Tuesday at the par-70, 6,988-yard Southern Hills Country Club. The Wildcats find themselves in fourth place, after posting a two-round total 607 (305-302), and K-State has not finished as high as fourth in its conference tournament since the 1969 Big Eight Championship.
Kansas State head coach Tim Norris said it wasn't the Wildcats' best day of golf, but the team did a good job of hanging in there on a difficult golf course. He cited the team's last regular season tournament at Ohio State's difficult Scarlet Course as being good preparation Southern Hills.
"It (Southern Hills) is a challenge from the first tee to the 18th green," Norris said. "There aren't any easy holes, there aren't any let-up holes. We hung tough, and hope for a little bit better tomorrow. The tournament isn't over by any means, and I think if we come out tomorrow and play to our abilities, we will be very happy with the outcome."
Leading the charge for the 'Cats in Tulsa was sophomore Matt Van Cleave. During the first round, the Maryville, Mo., native posted the team's best score of the day with a 2-over-par 72, highlighting the round with a hole-in-one on the par-3, No. 11 hole. He followed up with a second-round 75 to sit in second place behind Oklahoma State's Hunter Mahan, the second-ranked golfer in the country.
"Matt Van Cleave's round this morning really sparked us," Norris said. "It was nice to be able to tell the other guys when they came up to that hole that Matt made a hole-in-one there."
Every member of the Wildcat team finished in the top half of the individual standings. Junior co-captains A.J. Elgert and Aaron Watkins tied for 22nd with a two-round score of 155, and junior Greg Douglas and freshman Josh Persons shot 156 to tie for 28th.
Oklahoma tops the leaderboard after day one, posting a 595 (302-293) to claim a two-stroke lead over host Oklahoma State with a 297 (303-294) and 2002 Big 12 Champion Texas with a 297 (296-301).
The Big 12 Championship wraps up tomorrow at Southern Hills C.C. with final-round tee times beginning at 8 a.m. For complete results of the Big 12 Championship, please visit the Big 12 web site at www.Big12Sports.com.
Team Scores: 1. Oklahoma 595. T2. Oklahoma State 597. T2. Oklahoma 597. 4. Kansas State 607. 5. Texas A&M 611. 6. Texas Tech 612. 7. Kansas 620. 8. Colorado 623. T9. Missouri 624. T9. Nebraska 624. 11. Baylor 627. 12. Iowa State 631.
Top Individuals: 1. Hunter Mahan, Oklahoma State, 140. 2. Matt Van Cleave, Kansas State, 147. T3. Par Nilsson, Oklahoma State, 148. T3. Matthew Rosenfeld, Texas, 147. T3. Jason Hartwick, Texas, 148.
Wildcat Individuals: 2. Matt Van Cleave 147. T22. Aaron Watkins 155. T22. A.J. Elgert 155. T28. Greg Douglas 156. T28. Josh Persons 156.