Kansas Men's Golf to Compete in Border Olympics

March 15, 2012

LAWRENCE, Kan. – After a long wait until March to open the 2012 season at the Louisiana Classics last week, the Kansas men’s golf team will become very busy over the next few weeks as its spring schedule hits full stride, beginning with the Border Olympics Friday in Laredo, Texas.

Kansas will participate in the two-day event before traveling directly to its next tournament site – Goodyear, Ariz. – for the Desert Shootout March 22-24 during KU’s Spring Break. The Jayhawks are coming off an opening tournament where freshman Dylan McClure earned the top finish of any KU golfer with three rounds of 73 or better to tie for 17th place.

“From his sixth hole through 54, Dylan played very solid golf,” said Kansas head coach Kit Grove, referring to McClure’s rough start in which he bogeyed each of his first five holes to begin the event. “Chris (Gilbert) struggled last week. Golf’s a tough game, and everybody has their off days, but to have Chris shoot two poor scores in the same week is very strange. Hopefully, he was just getting some of the rust off of getting back into tournament mode. Alex (Gutesha) played all right, and Paul (Harris) shot one round under par.”

Consistency will be a big key for the Jayhawks moving forward, especially on the greens.

“Our conversion rate in the scoring zone of 50-100 yards was just awful last week,” said Grove. “Our putting average per player was probably a full putt to two putts higher than where it needs to be, so we focused on that this week. We did a lot of putting and a lot of short game stuff. We had a good practice week. The good thing is that Chris played very well at Laredo last year. Three of the five guys have played there, and Dylan’s coming off his best week. If they can get the ball rolling in the right direction, we have enough talent on this team to be competitive with a lot of teams in the country.”

Coach Grove pointed to the depth of this year’s team that makes it unique. Grove says it has been a while since he had a group where all five golfers were capable of finishing in the top 20 of any given event, as evidenced by McClure’s performance on the first weekend.

“I think the big thing we need to do is put it all together,” said Grove. “I can’t think back to where we’ve had five guys that can shoot as low as these five guys can each shoot individually at any given time, and they just haven’t put it together yet. We had the same thing happen last week. We shot 297 in the morning and 284 (-4) in the afternoon. That’s the same golf course and the same conditions on the same day, and 4-under is a good, competitive round in a good field. Then the last day we just played poorly as a group. Hopefully, something will click. I’ve had teams that just didn’t have that where the No. 4 or No. 5 golfer could shoot 70. They couldn’t go shoot 217 or 218 for the week and finish in the top 20. We have the depth, but we just haven’t quite put it together yet.”

Kansas will play 36 holes Friday before concluding the event with the third round Saturday.