STOCKTON, Calif. The Kansas State Wildcats fired the third-best score in school history and finished the opening round of the Pacific Invitational at Brookside Country Club, leading a field that includes the No. 1 team in the nation.
With all four counting scores under par, K-State tallied a 15-under 273 and led Marquette by two strokes at the end of the first 18 holes. No. 1-ranked Charlotte was at 10-under 278, and tied with California-Davis for third.
There are only three rounds since 1969 in which the Wildcats have shot a better score a 268 at the 2003 Purina Classic and rounds of 271 at the 2006 Arizona State Thunderbird Invitational and the 2004 Nelson Invitational.
“It was a great effort from top to bottom, everybody contributed,” K-State head coach Tim Norris said. “This is a game of momentum and we’ve been on a nice little run since we finished up the last round of the Club Glove a couple weeks ago. I think we’re just hitting our stride. I think our guys were confident when we got out here.
“Hopefully we can just keep making birdies, it’s going to take a bunch more. There are a lot of great teams here and with the weather and the course it’s a treat to play.”
K-State freshman and Overland Park, Kan., native Kyle Smell carded a 5-under 67 and was tied for third at the top of the individual leader board on Monday. Smell started the day with a birdie on the 10th hole and closed the back nine with the team’s only eagle of the day.
“Kyle had a great day,” Norris said. “It started off on his first hole, he’s been working on a new wedge shot. He hit a great shot in there about six feet away and that kind of set him up for the rest of the day.”
Mitchell Gregson notched six birdies while working his way to a 4-under 68 and a tie for seventh. Joe Ida had a bogey-free round and tied with teammate Robert Streb at 3-under 69. All four Wildcats were in among the tournament’s top-10 individuals.
Although his score did not count towards the team total on Monday, K-State’s Ross Guebelle was near par with a 1-over 73 and was tied for 54th.
“The golf course was set up top score on,” Norris said. “Our guys really did a good job of capitalizing on great weather and a great golf course in super shape.”
The Wildcats continue play at the Pacific Invitational on Tuesday with tee times on the 1st and 10th holes at 8 a.m. (PT). The third and final round will begin with the same format and at the same time on Wednesday. Live score updates are available at www.golfstat.com.
Brookside Country Club
Par 72, 6,777 yards
Team Scores: 1. Kansas State 273 (-15); 2. Marquette 275 (-13); T3. Charlotte 278 (-10); T3. UC-Davis 278 (-10); T5. Oregon 279 (-9); T5. San Jose State 279 (-9); 7. Fresno State 280 (-8); T8. Brigham Young 282 (-6); T8. Ohio State 282 (-6); 10. Cal State-Northridge 284 (-4); T11. UC-Santa Barbara 285 (-3); T11. Rice 285 (-3); 13. Pacific 287 (-1); 14. Northern Colorado 289 (+1).
K-State Individuals: T3. Kyle Smell 67 (-5); T7. Mitchell Gregson 68 (-4); T9. Joe Ida 69 (-3); T9. Robert Streb 69 (-3); T54. Ross Geubelle 73 (+1).