Wildcats Complete Opening Round of NCAA West Regional
BREMERTON, Wash. K-State’s Mitch Gregson shot an opening round 72 to lead the Wildcats at the 2008 NCAA Championship West Regional at Gold Mountain Golf Club on Thursday. The Wildcats were tied for 21st after the first 18 holes and carded a 17-over 305.
Gregson, who notched his team-leading eighth even round of the season, was joined by Kyle Yonke as K-State’s highlights of the first day of competition on the par 72, 7,111-yard Olympic Course. Yonke finished the day with the second-lowest score for the Wildcats, a 4-over 76.
“(Mitch) has been there all year and it just seems like he hits good shots throughout the round,” K-State head coach Tim Norris said. “Regardless of what kind of start he gets off to, he’s able to come in and post a score. He’s been real solid but he still left a couple shots out there as well.”
Oregon led the field after the opening round with a 1-over 289 and the Wildcats were six strokes behind No. 10 Texas and the cutoff line at 11-over 299. Oregon’s Joey Benedetti was the top individual after shooting a 3-under 69 on Thursday.
“It’s not the kind of golf we’re capable of that’s for sure,” Norris said of his team’s performance. “A couple teams took advantage (of the course) and a couple teams struggled. We just weren’t quite in the right spots. At this level and on a really, really fine golf course, the difference of a couple of feet can make a couple of shots difference. We did that a couple of times today and that can multiply in a hurry. We just have to overachieve a little bit and I think we underachieved today.”
Yonke, the Wildcats’ lone senior, qualified as the No. 5 player for K-State heading into Thursday’s round but his experience gave the team a boost as he made his third career appearance in an NCAA Regional. Yonke’s 76 was his third-best score in postseason, having shot a 75 at the 2005 Central Region Tournament and a 72 at the 2006 Central Region Tournament.
“He played a really good round of golf,” Norris said. “He had a couple of swings I’m sure he’d like to have back, but overall he played solid. If he gets a couple of putts to go down tomorrow (he’ll be even better).”
Robert Streb shot a 5-over 77 and Joe Ida contributed a 6-over 78 towards the K-State team score. Freshman Daniel Wood carded a 10-over 82.
Kansas State continues the three-day, 56-hole event on Friday when they tee off the 10th tee at 12:59 p.m. and conclude with 18 holes on Saturday. The top-10 teams and top-two individuals not on the qualifying teams will advance to the 2008 NCAA Men’s Golf Championship in West Lafayette, Ind., on May 28-31.
“I’m hopeful that the guys will be a little bit more familiar with the course,” Norris said. “It’s a very, very good, fair test of golf but it is a challenge that’s for sure. It’s just executing shots. We’ve got 36 holes left and a lot can happen in 36 holes if we get going. You’ve got to capitalize on every single break and at the same time not tempt fate.”
NCAA Championships West Region
Team Scores: 1. Oregon 289 (+1); T2. Southern California 291 (+3); T2. UCLA 291 (+3); T2. Washington 291 (+3); 5. Pepperdine 292 (+4); 6. Saint Mary (Calif.) 294 (+6); T7. Clemson 295 (+7); T7. North Carolina 295 (+7); 9. Stanford 296 (+8); 10. Texas 299 (+11); T11. UCF 301 (+13); T11. UNLV 301 (+13); T13. Texas Tech 302 (+14); T13. Oregon State 302 (+14); T13. San Diego State 302 (+14); T13. Kentucky 302 (+14); T17. Louisiana State 304 (+16); T17. Florida State 304 (+16); T17. Arizona State 304 (+16); T17. Wisconsin 304 (+16); T21. California 305 (+17); T21. Kansas State 305 (+17); 23. Oklahoma 306 (+18); 24. San Diego 308 (+20); 25. Denver 309 (+21); 26. Navy 312 (+24); 27. Columbia 314 (+26).
K-State Individuals: T31. Mitch Gregson 74 (+2); T64. Kyle Yonke 76 (+4); T82. Robert Streb 77 (+5); T99. Joe Ida 78 (+6); T132. Daniel Wood 82 (+10).