Wildcats Finish Eighth at Big 12 Championship
TRINITY, Texas Kansas State matched its lowest round of the tournament and carded the third-best score on the final day en route to an eighth-place finish at the Big 12 Championship at Whispering Pines Golf Club on Sunday.
The Wildcats shot a 297 to close the three-day, 72-hole event to match their opening round total and finish the tournament 297-307-301-2971202 (+50). The eighth-place finish is the highest for the Wildcats since placing fourth at the 2004 Big 12 Championship.
“As team scores go today that’s a pretty good one,” K-State head coach Tim Norris said. “It was Joe (Ida) and Mitch (Gregson) again (at the top). Kyle Smell held it together today and Robert (Streb) played solid too. Our guys competed hard, you can’t ask for more than that. Over 72 holes you can always find a shot here or there, but we weren’t too far out of being in the top half of the field.”
Oklahoma State, the tournament’s top-seeded team, continued to distance itself from the rest of the field on Sunday and won the tournament by 20 strokes at 11-under 1,141. Oklahoma State’s Rickie Fowler, the top-ranked player in the nation, took the individual crown with his 72-68-71-68279 (-9).
Ida paced the Wildcats on Sunday while carding his second round of the tournament under par and finished 17th with a 71-74-79-71295 (+7). Gregson shot a 1-over 73 on Sunday and finished the tournament tied with Streb for 25th at 11-over 299.
Smell contributed his third round of the tournament with a 77 on Sunday and finished the tournament tied for 49th at 26-over 314. Daniel Wood finished tied for 59th after shooting a 35-over 323.
“It’s never going to go your way all the time, that’s why they call it golf,” Norris said. “It’s about coping and adjusting and making compromises a little amnesia helps as well. Our guys were excited about coming out today.
With the tournament, the Wildcats set a K-State single-season scoring record after averaging 294.14 strokes per round. This year’s squad edged the 2003-04 team (294.73) and tied that same team with eight top-five finishes in a season.
“Our one and two (scores) have been awfully good,” Norris said, “but we’ve had good support and we’ve had depth this year which has helped us quite a bit. We played on some tough golf courses too so it’s not a scheduling issue. Records are made to be broken. I hope we’re better next year and I hope we’re talking about breaking it again.”
Kansas State will now await the decision of the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee to see if the team will advance to its first postseason appearance since 2006. The tournament selections will be announced on Monday, May 5.