Chris Gilbert in Top Five After Two Rounds at Prestigious Western Intercollegiate
April 14, 2012
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – Chris Gilbert carded back-to-back rounds of 70 (E) on the first day of the talent-laden Western Intercollegiate to position himself in the top five, while Kansas men’s golf also impressed with its seventh-place standing after 36 holes at Pasatiempo Golf Club Saturday.
Competing in a tournament field that includes seven of the top 15 teams in the nation, KU held its own with a team score of 747 (+25) to finish the day a mere five strokes behind No. 11 Oregon and ahead of San Diego State, who is ranked No. 10 in the national Golfstat rankings and No. 15 in the NCAA coaches poll.
“We’re winning the tournament as far as I’m concerned,” said Kansas head coach Kit Grove. “You have seven of the top 15 teams in the country here. This is the cream of the crop. You look up and down the list of who’s competing, especially the individuals, and this is as strong of a field as you’ll see in the country all year. Plus, this is a golf course that can absolutely bite you at any moment. As a whole, we did a lot of good things. Our guys battled, and they fought hard all day on a difficult golf course.”
Gilbert paced the Jayhawks’ strong showing with identical rounds of even-par 70 to finish the day tied for fourth place in a group that includes the No. 1 collegiate golfer in the country according to Golfstat, Dylan Frittelli of Texas. Gilbert ended the second round trailing No. 3 Patrick Rodgers of Stanford (67-71–138) by only two shots and No. 2 Jordan Spieth of Texas (72-67–139) by a single stroke. Gilbert enters the final round only three shots off the lead.
Gilbert had a remarkably clean scorecard for his opening 18 holes with only one birdie and one bogey to accompany 16 pars in a round where not a single hole played below par and the average score was 75.2. Gilbert followed that up in the afternoon with another 70 that featured three birdies, including one on the second-toughest hole of the day, the par-4, 440-yard 10th. Of the 88 golfers that played the hole twice, Gilbert’s was one of only seven birdies compared to 95 scores of bogey or worse recorded on No. 10 during the two rounds.
“It’s unreal,” said Grove about the junior from Simi Valley, Calif. “I’ve been alluding to it the past couple weeks. He’s been getting closer and closer. Obviously he’s had some good finishes with a ninth place at the Desert Shootout and tying the school record (202 to finish fifth at the Cowboy Classic) last week, but even par on this golf course, especially in a field filled with future PGA Tour players, is unreal. He’s playing rock solid. Today he did a great job of making some six- and eight-foot putts to make some really good pars and hold his round together. Hopefully, he’s turning the corner with that putter and getting a little more confidence because from tee to green, he is playing superb golf.”
Senior Doug Quinones posted a 147 (+7) for his two rounds to have the second-best day for the Jayhawks and tie for 25th through 36 holes, while junior Alex Gutesha fired a 3-over 73 in the morning and finished the day with a 150 (+10) to tie for 43rd. Sophomore Bryce Brown, making his spring debut for the team, had the second-best score in the afternoon with a 4-over 74.
“Coming out here as our sixth guy after winning a qualifier this week, Bryce hung in there,” said Grove. “I’m more than happy with a 74 out of that young man. You have to hang in there. This golf course is going to beat you up almost every time you play it. A couple of our guys that got off to some rough starts were able to hang in there. Alex shot 6-over on his first eight holes in the afternoon, but he fought back and made eight pars and a birdie on his last 10 holes. That’s how he is. Alex is a fighter, and you’re always going to get the best out of him.”
Kansas will conclude its regular season Sunday with the final round of the Western Intercollegiate at 10:30 a.m. Central.