K-State Holds on for Second at Stevinson Ranch Invitational
Stevinson, Calif. -The Kansas State men’s golf team got back into the swing of things with a second-place finish at the sixth annual Stevinson Ranch Invitational on Tuesday. K-State rebounded from an uncharacteristic seventh-place showing at the Jim Hackler Invitational with its sixth top-5 finish of the season. After trailing Kansas by five strokes heading into the final round, K-State narrowed the gap to three strokes at 861, but didn’t have enough to catch the Jayhawks, who fired a new 54-hole tournament record of 858, surpassing the previous mark of 861.
The second-place finish is the Wildcats’ best since winning the team title at the Nestle Purina Classic Oct. 6-7. The 14-team field was loaded with six other schools in K-State’s district competing for the team title at the par-72, 7,205-yard Stevinson Ranch Golf Club, which made K-State’s showing even more critical for district rankings.
Sophomore Ben Kern had the best outing of his young career, as he tied for second at 210 (-6). Kern’s previous best finish came last fall at the Nestle Purina Classic (Oct. 6-7), where Kern tied for fifth after shooting a 209.
“Ben played really well this week,” head coach Tim Norris said. “He had 19 birdies, which was four more than anyone else. I look for him to continue his good play this spring.”
Kern finished two strokes behind Iowa State’s Tyler Swanson, who led wire-to-wire and finished with a 206 (-10). Tying for second with Kern was Kansas’ Tyler Hall.
Senior Aaron Watkins got back into true form as he tied for seventh, his fifth top 10 of the season and 24th of his career. Watkins carded a 54-hole total of 213.
Senior Tim Moody, competing as an individual, finished in a tie for 17th with a 218. Junior Matt Van Cleave fought off a rough start to card a 83-67-73 and finish in a tie for 34th. Rounding out the field for the Wildcats were sophomore Josh Persons and senior A.J. Elgert, who finished at 225 and 227, and tied for 39th and 53rd, respectively.
The Wildcats return to the links April 10-11 at the Boilermaker Invitational in West Lafayette, Ind. For complete results, please visit Kansas State’s website at www.kstatesports.com.
Men’s Collegiate Golf
Team Scores: 1. Kansas 858; 2. K-State 861; 3. Iowa State 865; T4.Colorado 869; T4. Wichita State 869; 6. Cal State Stanislaus 880; 7. Missouri 885; T8. UC-Irvine 890; T8. San Jose State 890; 10. Washington State 892; 11. Drake 894; 12. Long Beach State 895; T13. Pacific 898; T13. Illinois State 898.
Top Individuals: 1. Tyler Swanson, (Iowa State) 68-67-71206; T2. Tyler Hall, (Kansas) 72-67-71210; T2. Ben Kern (K-State) 69-70-71210; 4. Gary Woodland, (Kansas) 72-69-70211; T5. Brian Anderson, (Illinois State) 69-70-73212; T5. Wes Pantling, (Drake) 67-68-77212.
Wildcat Individuals: T2. Ben Kern, 69-70-71210. T7. Aaron Watkins, 71-69-73213. T17. Tim Moody, 71-73-74218. T34. Matt Van Cleave, 83-67-73223. T39. Josh Persons, 72-75-78225. T53. A.J. Elgert, 74-76-77227.