Jayhawks Scorch to Top of Hawkeye Invite Leaderboard
April 13, 2013
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Kansas senior Chris Gilbert wasn’t about to be shown up by a younger teammate. When Stan Gautier opened with a tournament-best 67 (-5) in the first round, Gilbert followed with a 68 (-4) in the second, a friendly competition that helped propel Kansas to the top of the leaderboard after 36 holes at the Hawkeye-Great River Entertainment Invitational at Finkbine Golf Course Saturday.
Kansas sat at even-par 576 for the tournament, eight strokes in front of tournament-host Iowa (584) and 10 other teams with the decisive 18 holes to come Sunday. Kansas has five top-10 finishes this season, including each of the last three tournaments, but is in position to post its best finish since winning the 2010 Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate. A little intrasquad rivalry did nothing but help on the par-72, 7,180-yard course.
“When Chris found out Stan shot 5-under, he said ‘I’m going to try to catch him in the second round,’ then when out and shot a 68 – that’s the type of competitor Chris Gilbert is,” said Kansas head coach Jamie Bermel, who walked all 36 with Gilbert Saturday. “He just loves to compete and hates to lose.”
Gautier used seven birdies in the first round to match the best round of his career and was the only player in the 65-man field to shoot in the 60s during the opening round before Gilbert matched his season-best round as one of five players to shoot in the 60s during round two. Gautier’s 5-under par was the best score in relation to par by a KU golfer this season and coupled with his even-par 72 in the second round, helped the sophomore from Paris tie for the tournament lead with Minnesota’s Alex Gaugert at 139 (-5).
Gilbert, who was one-stroke back (140) and tied for third with Iowa’s Steven Ihm, opened with an even-par 72 before shooting a bogey-free 18 with four birdies to lead Kansas in round two. The senior from Simi Valley, Calif., logged his 12th round under par this season and seventh round in the 60s.
“We just decided to start playing in some ways,” Bermel laughed. “Stan has had his moments, Alex (Gutesha) was pretty solid. Alex and Chris are seniors, veterans, and they’ve been out here a long time and have learned to manage their games pretty well. What helps those guys is they started believing in themselves a little bit.
“I’ve been hard on these guys, pushing since day one and it’s starting to take hold. The guys are finishing off rounds and believing in themselves. It’s a whole package of things we’ve tried to instill.”
Gutesha, a senior from Greenwood Village, Colo., shot 73-74—147 (+2) to sit amongst the tournament’s top-15 players in a four-way tie for 13th, and junior Ryley Haas contributed both of his rounds to the team score while tying for 27th at 74-76—150 (+6). Kansas senior Paul Harris shot 78-79—157 (+13) and was tied for 57th.
Kansas (576), Iowa (584) and third-place Minnesota (586) will be paired up as tournament play concludes with 18 holes starting at 9 a.m. Sunday. It’ll be the second time this season that the Jayhawks were paired with a Big 12 foe in the final grouping after playing alongside Illinois in the third round at the Louisiana Classics (March 5-6) – an experience Bermel hopes will benefit his players.
“I think that experience will help a little bit,” Bermel said. “Being in first is a whole lot better than being in fifth. We can’t worry about other teams. We have to do what we do well and stick to our game plan – attack the par-fives, keep the ball on the fairway and make some putts.”
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