Firestone Country Club
Dates: April 16-17
Total Holes: 54
Format: 36 holes will be played Saturday, April 16 beginning with a 7:30 a.m. shotgun start. The final 18 holes will be played Sunday, April 17 beginning with a 8:00 a.m. shotgun start.
The Field: (15) Kansas State, Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Cleveland State, Eastern Michigan, Georgetown, Marshall, Miami (Ohio), Ohio, Penn State, St. Joseph’s, Toledo, Army and Wright State.
The FirstEnergy Lineup
Name Yr-Exp Rnds Avg
Matt Van Cleave Sr-2L 30 72.43
Ben Kern Jr-2L 30 73.63
Nick Schumacher Sr-1L 21 74.85
Jonathan James Jr-2L 18 76.22
Kyle Yonke Fr-HS 15 76.20
Setting the Scene
With the regular season winding down, the Kansas State men’s golf team travels to Akron, Ohio, April 16-17 for the FirstEnergy Intercollegiate. The event will cap the regular season slate for the Wildcats and will be their final tune-up before the Big 12 Championships, which will be April 29-May 1. The event will be held at the par-72, 7,060-yard North Course of the Firestone Country Club. This is K-State’s first-ever appearance in the event.
After opening the season at the Inverness Intercollegiate in Toledo, Ohio, K-State will close its regular season in the Buckeye State for the third consecutive year. The previous two seasons, the Wildcats concluded their docket at the Robert Kepler Intercollegiate in Columbus, Ohio. The trip to Ohio will also mark the third straight year that the Wildcats have played in two tournaments in the state.
Out of the 14 other teams in the field, the Wildcats have only faced Eastern Michigan, Penn State and Toledo. The Wildcats hold a record of 1-2 against the group. K-State’s only victory was against Eastern Michigan at the Inverness Intercollegiate. The other teams making up the field are Akron, Army, Ball State, Bowling Green, Cleveland State, Georgetown, Marshall, Miami (Ohio), Ohio, St. Joseph’s, Toledo and Wright State.
In the poll released April 12th by GolfStat, the Wildcats are ranked 64th. In the Golfweek/Sagarin poll released April 10th, K-State is ranked 69th.
Last Time Out
K-State battled a challenging field at the ASU Thunderbird Invitational, as the Wildcats carded a team score of 300-295-302897 and finished in 13th. The 15-team field featured eight teams ranked in the top 50. Matt Van Cleave more than held his own against the stiff competition, as the Maryville, Mo., native tied for third with a 71-70-72213 (E). Ben Kern and Nick Schumacher tied for 63rd at 228. Tyler Cummins shot a 234 and tied for 76th, while Clay Hodge finished 78th with a 237. UNLV won the team title with a team score of 859, two strokes ahead of Pepperdine (861). Playing as an individual, Arizona’s Kipp Riehle won the event at 7-under 206.
The Firestone Country Club opened in 1929 and has been rated by Golf Digest as one of Ohio’s top-10 courses. The FirstEnergy Intercollegiate will be played on the North Course, which opened in 1969. Since first hosting a professional event in 1953, the 54-hole Firestone Country Club has been a regular stop on the PGA Tour. The PGA’s World Golf Championships NEC Invitational has been housed at Firestone Country Club since 1999. The complex has hosted three PGA Championships and the 2002 Senior PGA Championship.
For the second consecutive tournament, head coach Tim Norris will send out a new lineup. The lineup consists of seniors Nick Schumacher and Matt Van Cleave, juniors Jonathan James and Ben Kern and freshman Kyle Yonke. This is the sixth different lineup used this season. Kern and Van Cleave have participated in all 10 events this year. Van Cleave has now participated in 29 straight tournaments and 34 career events. Kern has now placed among the Wildcats’ top-two finishers in 15 of 21 career events. Schumacher has qualified for the last seven events, while James is returning to the lineup for the first time since the Dick/Wittcoff USF Invitational March 4-6. Yonke will be playing in his fourth tournament of the spring and sixth of the season.
Tracking Van Cleave
With at least two tournaments remaining, Matt Van Cleave is hovering around a couple of K-State records. Currently, Van Cleave owns a career stroke average of 74.14, which is the lowest in school history. The career record is 74.30 by Aaron Watkins (2001-04). The record for a season is 73.34 by Aaron Watkins. Van Cleave currently has a stroke average or 72.43.