Kansas Men's Golf Returns to Arizona for Cowboy Classic

April 7, 2012

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas men’s golf will enter the homestretch of its spring schedule when it competes in the Cowboy Classic Monday and Tuesday, April 9-10, at Talking Stick Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The Jayhawks will see familiar faces in the 24-team tournament hosted by Wyoming, including Big 12 foes Texas Tech and KansasState. Playing on a par-70 course designed by Ben Crenshaw, KU knows putting will be the key to success in such a large field.

“It’s a good golf course,” said Kansas head coach Kit Grove. “Doug and Alex played there last year. There are only two par 5s. It’s a very playable golf course that gives you plenty of room off the tee. The main thing is the big green complexes, so it’s going to come down to putting. Hopefully we’ve done enough in practice this week. The guys are playing a lot better, especially Alex (Gutesha) and Chris (Gilbert), and Doug (Quinones) played better last week. From tee to green, we’re playing solid. We just need to make putts.”

One unusual factor at the Cowboy Classic that may affect putting will be the size of the tournament field. With 24 teams competing, each group will consist of four golfers rather than three, which will impact the length of each round and the amount of time spent on each green.

“It will be mentally taxing,” said Grove. “The pace of play will be horrifically slow. Putting is what kills you because everyone is so worried about golf etiquette. Nobody wants to step in somebody else’s line, so they all wait to finish out the hole. College golf struggles with pace of play anyway, and adding that fourth ball in each group adds so much time on the greens. We just have to be aware of that going into the tournament and be mentally prepared that the rounds are going to be even longer than normal.”

The Cowboy Classic will mark the first of two events for the Jayhawks in a seven-day stretch. KU will participate in The Western Intercollegiate next Saturday and Sunday, April 14-15, to conclude the regular season before competing in the Big 12 Championship April 27-29 in Trinity, Texas.

“Obviously, we’re trying to get better going into the Big 12 Championship,” said Grove. “We just haven’t really put the pieces together. The nice thing is all five of our guys have a top-20 finish, so they’re all capable of doing it. We’ve seen it. We just need to get two or three of them to do it in the same week. The last two weeks from a ball-striking standpoint have been a lot better, so if we can maintain our patience and start to make a few putts, I think we’ll be fine.”

Kansas will play two rounds Monday followed by the final round on Tuesday. Each day of the Cowboy Classic will begin with a shotgun start at 9:30 a.m. Central.