Harris Seventh Through Two Rounds at Kansas Invitational
Sept. 19, 2011
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Junior Paul Harris followed up his morning round of 73 with his first ever even-par round as a Jayhawk, posting a 72 to lead Kansas men’s golf after day one of the Kansas Invitational at Alvamar Golf Club Monday. Harris finished the day tied for seventh overall with a one-over par, five shots back of the leader David Smith from South Dakota State.
“That’s obviously what I was expecting when I recruited him,” said Kansas head coach Kit Grove about Harris’ performance. “He’s been fighting some physical issues. Hopefully, he’s turning the corner and getting a little bit of confidence back because we’re lacking a little bit of depth, so we need our guys to step up.”
Kansas finished the day in fourth place with a team score of 12-over par through two rounds, seven shots behind the leader Louisiana-Lafayette. KU improved 10 shots in the afternoon session, shooting a 289 in round two after recording a 299 in the first round. Kansas head coach Kit Grove said the Jayhawks missed some opportunities to go really low on their home course.
“The morning was a struggle,” said Grove. “Nobody played well. It’s a little disheartening when you’re trying to defend your home turf. Chris (Gilbert) struggled in the morning, which was shocking because he’s been playing quite well. In the afternoon, we really had it going. We were five-under with three holes to play. Hole No. 8 is a par-five, so you’re licking your chops thinking you can get one or two more there. No. 9 is another opportunity (to birdie), and we played the last three holes six-over. That’s just unacceptable.”
Junior Alex Gutesha joined Harris in the top-10 after shooting two rounds of 73 Monday, placing him one shot behind Harris and tied for ninth in the field. Junior Chris Gilbert carded the lowest score of any Jayhawk on Monday with a 71 in the second round. However, his first-round 78 left him tied for 22nd and nine shots behind the leader.
Coach Grove believed the team still had a chance to make a run for the title in the final round.
“We’re only seven back,” said Grove. “If we do what we were doing in the second round, we still have a chance to win. It’s good that we didn’t completely shoot ourselves out of it today. If we shoot seven- or eight-under tomorrow, you never know what can happen.”
The final round of the Kansas Invitational will have staggered tee times Tuesday morning beginning at 8 a.m.