Van Cleave Paces Field Through 36 Holes; Wildcats in Second
LAKELAND, Fla. - Senior Matt Van Cleave and the Wildcats wasted no time removing any rust they may have developed on their game since last playing a tournament on Oct. 24th. As a team, the Wildcats fired a 36-hole score of 291-298589 (+13) to plant themselves in a tie for second with host Florida Southern at the Matlock Invitational. Van Cleave set the pace early for Kansas State, as he fired a 70-71141 (-3) to take sole possession of first place. With 18 holes remaining Tuesday, K-State trails tournament-leader Georgia College and State by one stroke.
“The day went pretty well for us,” head coach Tim Norris said. “We’d like to have done a little better, but you can’t ask for a lot in the middle of February. I’m proud of the way our guys played.”
As the lone returner off the squad that traveled to the Matlock Invitational last year, Van Cleave has once again found his niche at the par-72, 7,065-yard Grasslands Golf and Country Club, and is looking to top his finish from a year ago when he fired a 215 and tied for seventh. With 18 holes to be played, the Maryville, Mo., native holds a one-stroke lead over Georgia College and State’s Carter Collins, who carded a 71-71142 (-2).
“Matt played really good golf,” Norris remarked. “Nobody puts in more time inside Brandeberry (K-State’s indoor training facility) during the winter than Matt Van Cleave. Sure, it didn’t hurt that he played here last year, but he’s worked extremely hard and its not a coincidence that he is playing this well this early again.”
Not far off the pace set by Van Cleave are junior Ben Kern and senior Nick Schumacher. Kern and Schumacher each fired 36-hole scores of 147 (+3) and are tied for eighth. Kern continues to play the same solid golf he did when he concluded the fall with back-to-back top-15 finishes. Schumacher entered the lineup with two tournaments to play in the fall and has responded by posting the best golf of his career. The Lubbock, Texas, native is bidding for his first top-10 finish.
Rounding out the field for the Wildcats are junior’s Jonathan James and Tyler Cummins. James fired a 77-79156 and is tied for 46th, while Cummins carded a 157 (80-77) to sit in a tie for 52nd.
This is the second straight year the Wildcats have opened their season at the Matlock Invitational. Through 36 holes a year ago, K-State sat in fourth and trailed the leader by nine strokes before finishing in fifth.
The Wildcats conclude play Tuesday at the Matlock Invitational.
Men’s Collegiate Golf
The Matlock Invitational
Grasslands Golf & Country Club
Par: 72; Yardage: 7,065
Team Scores: 1. Georgia College & State, 289-299588; T2. Kansas State, 291-298589; T2. Florida Southern, 297-292589; 4. Missouri 295-297592; 5. Lynn University, 297-305602; 6. Rollins College, 302-301603; 7. Middle Tennessee State, 305-299604; 8. Va. Commonwealth, 305-302607; 9. Tenn.-Chattanooga, 304-305609; 10. Old Dominion, 303-307610; 11. Barry University, 312-302614; 12. Texas-Pan American, 312-316628; 13. West Georgia, 305-325630; 14. Francis Marion, 322-309631; 15. Valdosta State, 316-317633.
Top Individuals: 1. Matt Van Cleave, (K-State) 70-71141 (-3); 2. Carter Collins, (Georgia College and State) 71-71142 (-2); T3. Greg Koch, (Florida Southern) 71-72143 (-1); T3. Ben Scott, (Missouri) 70-73143 (-1); T5. Juan Bialet, (Georgia College and State) 70-75145 (+1); T5. Gordon Strother, (Tenn.-Chattanooga) 75-70145 (+1).
Wildcat Individuals: T8. Ben Kern, 71-76147 (+3); T8. Nick Schumacher, 73-74147 (+3); T46. Jonathan James, 77-79156 (+12); T52. Tyler Cummins, 80-77157 (+13).