GOODYEAR, Ariz. Mitchell Gregson and Joe Ida each fired a 4-under 68 and helped put Kansas State in third place after the first 18 holes at the Ron Moore Invitational at Palm Valley Golf Club on Friday.
“It doesn’t get old for me,” K-State head coach Tim Norris said of his consistent sophomore leaders. “Every good team has some guys that are going to be rock solid for you all the time. That’s the two of them and there are a couple more right behind them.”
Both K-State golfers turned in scores of 34 on the front and back nines on the par-72, 7,015-yard course and were tied for fifth overall, two strokes behind the leaders. Boise State’s Troy Merritt and the Royal Canadian Golf Association Developmental Team’s Mathieu Rivard and Darren Hupfer tied for the top scores Friday with an opening 6-under 66.
“(Gregson and Ida) are both striking the ball well and made some puts,” Norris said. “Both have a real good chance of getting a real good round. They’re both playing well no matter where we go and it’s been that way all year really.”
As a team, K-State shot an 8-under 280 in the opener and was one stroke behind the RCGA Developmental Team (279) and three strokes behind tournament leader San Diego (277).
Ross Geubelle, who made his spring debut for the Wildcats, joined Kyle Yonke in contributing to the team score as the two shot an even par 72 and tied for 32nd at the end of the first day. Robert Streb was three strokes off the pace with a 3-over 75. He was tied for 61st at the end of Friday’s competition.
“We had a pretty solid day really,” Norris said. “Top to bottom, all five guys, we did pretty well. In this weather it’s pretty hard not to play good it’s pretty nice out here. We’re in the hunt with two rounds left.
“Ross always brings something to the team. He’s just a competitor, a gritty player and I know he’s always going to give it his best. For Kyle it’s a game of confidence and it doesn’t hurt to play in perfect weather and play a course he’s familiar with.”
K-State's Daniel Wood is competing as an individual during the Ron Moore Invitational and was tied for third amongst players not part of their teams' scoring lineup with a 1-under 71.
The Wildcats’ 8-under marks the fourth-best round of the season versus par and fifth-best team gross score. Ida’s 68 marks the eighth time that the sophomore has shot below 70 in a tournament this year a team high.
Kansas State will play another 18 holes in Saturday’s second round before closing the tournament with the final 18 holes on Sunday. The Wildcats return to competition in the state of Kansas with the Diet Pepsi Shocker Classic on March 31-April 1 at Wichita Country Club.
Ron Moore Invitational
Palm Valley Golf Club
Par 72, 7,015 yards
Team Scores: 1. San Diego 277 (-11); 2. RCGA Development 279 (-9); 3. Kansas State 280 (-8); T4. Denver 284 (-4); T4. Iowa State 284 (-4); T4. Northern Iowa 284 (-4); T7. Colorado State 285 (-3); T7. Utah 285 (-3); 9. New Mexico State 286 (-2); 10. Hawaii 288 (E); T11. Nebraska 289 (+1); T11. Southern Utah 289 (+1); T11. Boise State 289 (+1); 14. Kansas 291 (+3); 15. Ohio State 292 (+4); 16. Air Force 300 (+12).
K-State Individuals: T5. Joe Ida 34-3468 (-4); T5. Mitchell Gregson 34-3468 (-4); T32. Kyle Yonke 37-3572 (E); T32. Ross Geubelle 36-3672 (E); T61. Robert Streb 37-3875 (+3).