Wildcats Hold Steady and Finish 13th; Van Cleave Ties for Third
TEMPE, Ariz. Battling windy conditions on Saturday at the par-71, 7,025-yard Arizona State Karsten Course, the Kansas State men’s golf team fired a final-round 302 and finished in 13th at the ASU Thunderbird Invitational. The Wildcats finished the 15-team, 54-hole event with a team score of 897 (300-295-302), five strokes back of 12th-place Stanford. Scoring was up almost two strokes from the first two rounds, as only two players in the 79-man field broke par in the final round.
“We had a little bit better ball-striking day,” head coach Tim Norris said. “The winds were higher, the pin placement was more severe and the greens had dried out, so it was a pretty good test. Against this competition, we weren’t too far off, but just far enough to finish where we did.”
Playing in a field that featured eight teams ranked in the top 50, senior Matt Van Cleave continued his scintillating play, as he tied for third and earned his sixth consecutive top-15 finish. Van Cleave carded a 71-70-72213 (E), seven strokes behind medalist Kipp Riehle of Arizona. Riehle, who was playing as an individual, fired a score of 69-69-68206 (-7) and won by six strokes over Arizona’s Nathan Lashley (68-70-74212). Riehle’s final score was the highest score by a champion since Brandon Ditullio of UCLA shot a 5-under 211 in 1998.
Van Cleave has now paced the Wildcats in eight of 10 events this season. The Maryville, Mo., native finished second in par-3 scoring (2.92) and fifth in par-4 scoring (4.03).
“Matt played great,” Norris said. “For Matt to finish tied for third in a field like this is quite an accomplishment.”
Also competing for the Wildcats were senior Nick Schumacher, juniors Ben Kern and Tyler Cummins and freshman Clay Hodge. Kern and Schumacher finished at 15-over par 228 and tied for 63rd. Cummins finished in a tie for 76th with a 82-75-77234 (+21). Hodge shot a 76-83-78237 (+24) and finished 73rd.
No. 2 UNLV led wire-to-wire and won the team title with a team score of 7-over 859 (274-289-296), two strokes ahead of second-place Pepperidne (285-284-292861). UNLV won the event despite the abscence of the nation’s No. 1 player, Ryan Moore, who is competing as amateur in the Masters for the second time in three years.Host Arizona State, who entered the event with victories in five of the last six Thunderbird Invitationals, finished in third place at 17-over 869.
The Wildcats return to action April 16-17 at the First Energy Intercollegiate in Akron, Ohio.
Men’s Collegiate Golf
Team Scores:1. UNLV, 274-289-296859; 2. Pepperdine, 285-284-292861; 3. Arizona State, 286-287-296869; 4. Arizona, 282-292-297871; 5. UCLA, 290-289-294873; 6. BYU, 282-293-299874; T7. Colorado State, 285-289-302876; T7. Oregon, 295-286-295876; 9. Texas Tech, 288-289-301878; 10. Arizona State (team two), 293-303-291887; 11. Penn State, 297-287-306890; 12. Stanford, 292-298-302892; 13. Kansas State, 300-295-302897; 14. Hawaii, 301-295-305901; 15. California, 297-296-309902.
Top Individuals: 2. Nathan Lashley, (Arizona) 68-70-74212 (-1); 1. *Kipp Riehle, (Arizona) 69-69-68206 (-7); 3. Henry Liaw, (Arizona) 68-73-72213 (E); T3. Matt Van Cleave, (K-State) 71-70-72213 (E); T3. Gregg LaVoie, (Oregon) 72-68-73213 (E).
Wildcat Individuals: T63. Ben Kern, 76-75-77228 (+15); T63. Nick Schumacher, 77-75-76228 (+15); T76. Tyler Cummins, 82-75-77234 (+21); 78. Clay Hodge, 76-83-78237 (+24).
*Played as an individual