Kansas Holds Off Charge, Claims First Title Since 2010
April 14, 2013
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Chris Gilbert claimed a share of medalist honors and helped Kansas hold off a furious charge from tournament-host Iowa to claim the Jayhawks’ first team title since 2010 by a single stroke at Finkbine Golf Course Sunday. Kansas shot a 286-290-291—867 (+3) to win the Hawkeye-Great River Entertainment Invitational.
Gilbert fired his second-consecutive round under par to finish at 5-under 211 for the tournament and tied Iowa’s Steven Ihm for the individual tournament lead – his second share of medalist honors this season. Kansas was able to hold off the Hawkeyes, who shot a tournament-best 284 (-4) on their home course Sunday, thanks to an eight-stroke lead heading into the final round. It was Kansas’ first win since claiming the top spot at the 2010 Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate (Oct. 25-26) when Gilbert and fellow senior Alex Gutesha were sophomores.
“It doesn’t get any better – to win as an individual and as a team,” said Gilbert, who also tied for the tournament lead at the Herb Wimberly last fall. “We all played well and got our first win this year. This week we finally had all five scorers play well. We’ve all have been working hard and have been playing in conditions like these.”
Kansas sophomore Stan Gautier finished third overall – his best finish of the year – with a 4-under 212 and Gutesha finished just outside the top 10 with a 4-over 220 which tied for 11th. Kansas used a 74 from senior Paul Harris to close out the scoring in Sunday’s final round on the par-72, 7,180-yard course. Ryley Haas, a junior from Colby, Kan., finished tied for 32nd after shooting 74-76-76—226 (+10) and Harris ended the event tied for 49th at 15-over 231 for the tournament.
“We keep grinding and grinding,” Kansas head coach Jamie Bermel said. “They’re really starting to believe. It’s really good for Stan, who struggled a bit in the fall but is getting better and starting to believe in himself. The experience is starting to pay off for the seniors. We didn’t play great but we played good enough and that’s all that matters.”
Unlike the 2010 win, during which the Jayhawks trailed by 11 strokes before climbing out of fifth place in the final round, Kansas led from wire-to-wire, though Iowa’s late push tied the score with three holes to play. Gutesha birdied his final hole and Gautier made a putt to keep Kansas ahead.
“You never know until its final,” Bermel said. “We were all trying to figure out the score and it took a while to confirm everything. Everyone was excited, certainly happy to win the tournament.”
The winning feeling won’t be lost soon amongst the senior class.
“This could be my second to last tournament,” Gutesha said. “It’s tough to say that this one isn’t better (than 2010) – to win one of the last ones that we’re going to play in. We won both in completely different fashions. The one in New Mexico we were 11 shots back and somehow won. This one’s really cool because it’s our senior year, there were a lot of good teams here, and we played really well – all of us together. We led the whole way and we pretty much controlled everything.”
Charlotte and Minnesota tied for third at 16-over 880 for the tournament, 13 strokes behind the Jayhawks. Fellow Big 12 member Iowa State shot 897 (+33) to tie for sixth place.
Kansas will conclude regular season play with the Big 12 Championship at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan., April 22-24.
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