Oct. 1, 2002
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MANHATTAN, Kan. - Armed with a putting game in top form and lessons learned from earlier tournaments, Kansas State golfer Aaron Watkins walked away from Colbert Hills Golf Course Tuesday with his first NCAA individual victory. Watkins, a Wildcat junior, pieced together three consistent rounds to finish at 1-under-par 215, which in the end seperated him from the pack by seven strokes at the Jim Colbert Intercollegiate and made him the K-State's first individual medalist since Bryan Milberger in 2000.
"I haven't really taken it in yet, I was more concerned about how things would turn out for the team," Watkins said. "My biggest thing today was trying not to think of the future and just taking things one shot at a time. My goal today was just to make par on every hole, and eliminate any scores above that."
The Wildcat team tied Lamar for the best team score of the day with a 299, but it wasn't enought to overtake SMU, as the Mustangs hung on to share the team title with Lamar with a total of 914. The `Cats finished just three strokes out of first place.
"It was a close tournament," said K-State head coach Tim Norris. "There were some good teams here and we would have had to play close to our best golf to win. We've got to take this tournament as a learning experience and get back to business, because we've got a big tournament in Missouri next week to prepare for."
Three of K-State's individual players joined Watkins in the top 20 individuals, led by freshamn Josh Persons, who claimed his second top-20 finish season this season, carding a 232 to tie for 16th. Junior Tim Moody, playing in his first tournament since being red-shirted with an injury last season, shot a 233 to tie for 20th with sophomore teammate Matt Van Cleave.
Also making the rounds for K-State was junior Nick Schumacher who came back after a rough couple of Monday rounds to post a final-round 73 to tie for 33rd. Juniors Greg Douglas, A.J. Elgert and sophomore Jonathan James had scores of 239 to tie for 43rd, and rounding out the roster for the `Cats was Jimmy Dietz, who tied for 62nd with a 249.
The Wildcats hit the road again next week as they travel to St. Charles, Mo., to compete at the Purina Classic, hosted by the University of Missouri at the Missouri Bluffs Golf Club.
Team Scores: T1. SMU 914. T1. Lamar 914. 3. Kansas State 917. 4. Missouri 924. T5. Nebraska 925. T5. Colorado 925. 7. Toledo 926. 8. Tulsa 928. 9. Texas A&M 936. 10. Texas-San Antonio 947. 11. Louisiana-Lafayette 948. 12. Rice 950.
Top Individuals: 1. Aaron Watkins, K-State, 215. 2. Shaun Helmle, Texas A&M, 222. T3. Brandon Knaub, Missouri, 224. T3. Chris Stroud, Lamar, 224. T5. Luke Healy, UTSA, 225. T5. David Inglis, Tulsa, 225.
Wildcat Individuals: 1. Aaron Watkins 215. T18. Josh Persons 232. T20. Tim Moody 233. T20. Matt Van Cleave 233. T33. Nick Schumacher 236. T43. Greg Douglas 239. T43. A.J. Elgert 239. T43. Jonathan James 239. T62. Jimmy Dietz 249.