Kansas Men's Golf Opens 2011 Fall Season at Mark Simpson Invitational Monday

Sept. 11, 2011

LAWRENCE, Kan. – After qualifying for the NCAA Arizona Regional last year, junior Chris Gilbert will be looked upon to lead the Kansas men’s golf team in the fall season, which opens Monday with the Mark Simpson Invitational at the Colorado National Golf Club in Erie, Colo.

Gilbert led the team in scoring in five of KU’s 12 tournaments last year and ultimately led the team with an overall scoring average of 73.57 as a sophomore. He also shot the lowest single round of any Jayhawk golfer last year with a 65 in the final round of the Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate to earn a season-best seventh-place finish at the event. Joining Gilbert on the trip to the season-opening event hosted by the University of Colorado will be senior Doug Quinones, juniors Alex Gutesha and Paul Harris, and freshman Dylan McClure.

“The kids are really excited to get out there and get after it,” said Kansas men’s golf head coach Kit Grove. “We’ve had a good week of practice. The guys have been sharpening up what they need to work on. We played well at this event last year, and three of the guys who made the trip are returning. They’ve got one tournament under their belt at this golf course, so hopefully that will be advantageous to us.”

In addition to Gilbert, Gutesha and Quinones are making their second appearance at the Simpson Invitational. A native of Greenwood Village, Colo., which is less than an hour away from Colorado National Golf Club, Gutesha recorded three top-20 finishes last year for the Jayhawks. Gutesha also had the best three-round score of any KU golfer in 2010, shooting a 210 at the Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate to finish tied for third place and lead the Jayhawks to their first tournament title under Kit Grove.

“Alex (Gutesha) was actually our low qualifier the past two weeks in practice,” said Grove. “He shot a 64 at the Lawrence Country Club, which is by far the team low out there, so he should be coming in with some confidence. Chris (Gilbert) will be ready, too. He’s such a consistent performer for us; I’ve got a lot of confidence in him.”

Two newcomers, Harris and McClure, will make their Jayhawk debut this week. Harris joined the Kansas roster after competing for two seasons at Central Alabama Community College in Alexander City, Ala., where he was recognized as the No. 1 junior college prospect by golfstat.com. McClure was the seventh-ranked player in Texas his senior season at Northwest High School in Justin, Texas.

“You never know about the first tournament,” Grove said about what to expect from the two newcomers. “You don’t know how they’re going to react at the Division I level. Obviously Paul had really good success at the junior college level the past couple years, and Dillon had a really nice junior golf resume, but it’s a little different stage. Hopefully they can make that adjustment and embrace the nerves.”

Following the Mark Simpson Invitational, KU will host the Kansas Invitational September 19-20.