ASU Thunderbird Invitational
Saturday-Sunday, April 8-9, 2006
7:15 a.m. (PT) Saturday - Shotgun Start
7:00 a.m. (PT) Sunday - Tee Times
ASU Karsten Course
Par 71/7,025 yards
Hosted by Arizona State
Participating Teams (15): Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, California, Central Florida, Colorado State, Illinois, KANSAS STATE, Oregon, Penn State, San Diego State, South Carolina, Stanford, Texas Tech and UNLV.
MANHATTAN, Kan. - Following a second-place finish for the fourth-consecutive year at the Stevinson Ranch Invitational, the Kansas State men’s golf team will look to continue the success at the 34th-annual ASU Thunderbird Invitational, April 8-9 in Tempe, Ariz. This is only the second time the Wildcats have participated in the event. The 15-team field includes four schools in the top-25 of the Golfweek/Sagarin Ratings in UNLV (No. 7), Arizona State (No. 9), Texas Tech (No. 21) and San Diego State (No. 22). The ’Cats will tee off at 7:15 a.m. (PT) on Monday in a shotgun format, with tee times for Tuesday’s start determined by Monday’s finish. No live stats will be available for the tournament. Results will be posted on www.k-statesports.com as soon as they become available.
Karsten Course is the home to both the Arizona State men’s and women’s team golf teams. Located in Tempe, Ariz., Karsten Course is a four-star rated by GolfDigest’s “Greatest Places to Play.” For more information on Karsten Course, please visit www.asukarsten.com
LAST TIME OUT: STEVINSON RANCH INVITATIONAL
STEVINSON, Calif. Mother nature rained on K-State’s parade during the final round of the Stevinson Ranch Invitational on March 28. Heavy rain and lightening rolled in shortly before noon on the Pacific coast causing the cancellation of the third round and making the tournament a 36-hole event. Colorado was awarded the team championship after their 20-over par 596 score from the day before. The Wildcats, who were one stroke back of the leader to begin the day, were 15-over par with the easiest three holes of the course left. At that point, Colorado was 27-over, but the Buffaloes were awarded the team championship since the final round scores did not count. Ben Kern, who finished third, was 2-over par with three holes left to play. Robert Streb, who carded a 73-75148 (+4) during the first two rounds, finished in a three-way tie for sixth.
THUNDERBIRD INVITATIONAL REWIND
The 2006 event marks the 34th year of the ASU Thunderbird Invitational, but only the second year K-State has participated in the event. Last year, the Wildcats faced a tough field as they went up against eight teams in the top-50. K-State carded rounds of 300-295-302 to finish at 45-over par 897. UNLV took home the team title after firing a 5-under par 859 and Arizona’s Kipp Riehle won the individual title with a 7-under par 206. Former Wildcat Matt Van Cleave tied for third with his even par 213. However, the closest teammates to him were Ben Kern and Nick Schumacher, each tying for 63rd at 15-over 218.
True-freshmen starters have been somewhat of a rarity during the Tim Norris era. Only five true freshmen have participated in at least 75-percent of the team’s events during the season under Norris’ watch. Robert Streb, who has participated in every event this season, and Joe Kinney have joined that list this season. However, both golfers are not only participating in those events, but also making them count. Streb ranks No. 1 on the list in terms of stroke average at 73.88, over a 1.5 shots ahead of Josh Person’s run during the 2002-03 season. Kinney currently ranks third on the list at 76.00 shots-per-round. Furthermore, Streb ranks third on the team in percentage of rounds counted at 86.54 percent. The two Wildcat golfers ahead of him in that category are seniors Tyler Cummins (89.59%) and Ben Kern 88.10%).
FAMILIAR STARTING LINEUP
The ASU Thunderbird Invitational marks the fifth time this season that the Wildcats will use the starting lineup of Tyler Cummins, Ben Kern, Joe Kinney, Robert Streb and Kyle Yonke. This starting lineup has accounted for the top two 54-hole team scores vs. par this season as they carded an even par 852 at the Wolverine Intercollegiate (9/24-25/05) and a 15-under par at the Barona Collegiate Cup (10/24-25/06). These five guys also hold K-State’s top overall placing as they second at the Stevinson Ranch Invitational.
RECAPPING THE FALL
K-State got off to a good start to the fall season, placing eighth out of 17 teams at the Cleveland State Invitational on Sept. 12-13 after a 31-over 883 performance. Senior Ben Kern carded the second-lowest 54-hole score in school history by firing an eight-under 205 to place second. His second-place finish tied for his best career finish. Two weeks later, the Wildcats shaved an impressive 31 strokes off their score, carding even par 852 at the Wolverine Intercollegiate to finish fourth. The next week, K-State matched its placing from the Wolverine Intercollegiate, tying for fourth at the Memphis Intercollegiate. K-State hit a bump in the road out west at the Alister MacKenzie Invitational, its third tournament in as many weeks. The team looked as if they were on their way to one of the lowest 54-hole scores in school history after firing a 280 and 283 in the first two rounds. A third-round score of 302 dropped the Wildcats to a season-low 12th-place finish. After a week off, Norris’ bunch came out firing at the Barona Collegiate Cup, carding a 15-under 849, the second-lowest 54-hole score in school history. However, the Wildcats could only muster a tie for 10th, largely due to the tough competition, including tournament champion and top-10 team Brigham Young. Kern finished first on the team in stroke average at 71.40, exactly one stroke-per-round better than what he did last fall. Senior Tyler Cummins was probably the most consistent golfers as he placed as either the first or second Wildcat in four of the five tournaments.
K-STATE INKS FOUR FOR 2006-07 SEASON
Head men’s golf coach Tim Norris announced the signing of four high school golfers for the 2006-07 season. Joe Ida, Ross Geubelle (pronounced GOO-bell), Brian Larson and Jason Schulte (SHUL-tee) all have signed national letters of intent (NLI) to join the Wildcat golf program. “These guys are a great fit for our program,” Norris said. “They came in and were really impressed with the facilities and the opportunity to further their game. All of them have their best golf in front of them. They have a strong work ethic and basic fundamentals of the game, and we will try to supply the rest.” Three out of the four kids are local are either from Kansas or the Kansas City area (Ida: Fort Scott; Geubelle: Lakin; Schulte: Kansas City, Mo.), with the lone out-of-stater being Larson from Rochester, Minn. All four players will end their high school careers this coming spring before heading to K-State in the fall of 2006 as true freshmen.
KINNEY HONORED BY AJGA
Kansas State freshman golfer Joe Kinney earned honorable mention honors to the Rolex Junior All-American team, the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) announced on Oct. 25. Kinney, of Antioch, Ill., capped off a successful junior career this past summer as he captured a victory at the 2005 Future Legends in Wales, Wis. He also registered a second-place finish at the Midwest Juniors Players Championship in Huntley, Ill. Throughout his four-year career on the junior circut, Kinney cracked the top-15 in seven tournaments. The 135 junior golfers who received honors from the AGJA were recognized Nov. 20 during the Rolex Junior All-American Awards Banquet in Jekyll Island, Ga.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Only two players that participated at last year’s ASU Thunderbird Invitational return for the 2006 edition. In 2005, Ben Kern tied for 63rd with a three-round total of 15-over par 228 and Tyler Cummins tied for 76th at 21-over par 234. However, both have better stroke averages coming into the event this year than what they had last year. Kern boasts a 72.52 stroke average through eight events, while last year he held a 73.37 average before the Thunderbird Invite (-0.85). Cummins’ 74.11 stroke average this year tops his 75.44 average going into last year’s event (-1.33).
K-State’s ASU Thunderbird Invitational Lineup
Name Year Hometown Rds. Avg.
Ben Kern Sr. Tucson, Ariz. 23 72.52
Robert Streb Fr. Edmond, Okla. 26 73.88
Kyle Yonke Jr. Lubbock, Texas 20 74.85
Tyler Cummins Sr. Olathe, Kan. 26 74.11
Joe Kinney Fr. Antioch, Ill. 20 76.00