KU Men's Golf in Fourth After First Day of Colorado Invitational

Sept. 24, 2012

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ERIE, Colo. – Kansas men’s golf opened the Mark Simpson Colorado Invitational with back-to-back season-best rounds of 287 (-1) and 283 (-5) for a combined first-day total of 570, tying them for fourth place after 36 holes at Colorado National Golf Club Monday.

The successful start to the third event of the season marked the first time the Jayhawks recorded consecutive rounds under par as a team since they shot 286 and 287 in the final two rounds of the Colorado Invitational on Sept. 27-28, 2010.

“We got off to a hot start,” said Kansas head coach Jamie Bermel. “We were actually 10-under for some of the first round. We gave a few back coming in, but obviously this is a much better start this week than the past two, so that’s encouraging. It was misty, breezy and a little rainy out there, but I thought we were pretty focused and took care of business.”

Coming off a top-15 finish at the Golfweek Conference Challenge, senior Chris Gilbert fueled the quick start Monday by shooting 5-under on his first 12 holes of the morning to sit atop the leaderboard briefly. Gilbert surrendered a couple shots while concluding his first round, but still finished with a team-best 69 (-3) that included six birdies.

Beginning the afternoon in a tie for fifth, Gilbert showed remarkable consistency in his second round, carding 15 pars to go along with two birdies and a bogey for a 1-under 71. Gilbert’s first-day total of 4-under 140 placed him in a six-way tie for ninth place, which included fellow KU senior Alex Gutesha.

“Chris was playing well,” said Bermel. “He just played his game of pretty steady golf. He hit it in the fairway, managed his ball flight and made some putts.”

Gutesha used back-to-back rounds of 70 to keep pace with Gilbert and join him in the top 10 after 36 holes. Gutesha, who grew up less than an hour from the course in Greenwood Village, Colo., registered five birdies on his first nine holes to establish early momentum in the event. He followed it up with six birdies and four bogeys in the afternoon, including a birdie on his final hole -the 496-yard, par-4 No. 6, which allowed only seven birdies for the entire second round.

“Alex got off to a good start, and he played solid all day,” said Bermel. “I was happy to see that because he’s a senior. He’s been around and played in a lot of events. He brings a lot of experience to the team.”

Not to be outdone in the early morning, sophomore transfer Stan Gautier matched Gutesha with five birdies on his first nine holes, but a costly triple bogey on the 468-yard, par-4 No. 3 – his 16th hole of the round – set Gautier back to 1-over for his morning session, putting him in a tie for 29th place. Dylan McClure provided the fourth score for the Jayhawks on the first 18 holes with a 3-over 75.

In the afternoon, McClure matched Gutesha’s 2-under 70 to help pace Kansas’second round of 283. The 5-under team score represented the lowest mark by the Jayhawks on a par-72 course since they posted a 282 (-6) in the second round of the Missouri Intercollegiate on April 12, 2010.

Freshman Jackson Foth also got into the mix with an even-par 72, which included four birdies, to count for the team’s fourth score.

“We played some here Saturday, and we played a practice round yesterday. I thought he really played well both rounds,” said Bermel about the native of Shawnee, Kan. “He didn’t get off to a good start today. I think he was a little bit nervous, but he responded in the second round with an even par. For his first college event, that’s not too bad. That’s for sure.”

Kansas will open the final round nine shots behind Oregon State, who shot a 561 (-15) on the first day to lead the field.

“Our guys are playing well,” said Bermel, looking ahead to the final day’s action. “They’re getting more confident as the week goes on. We’re not in this for moral victories. We’re here to win. We need to really, really play well tomorrow if we’re going to catch the leaders. With it being the last round, they’ll put the pins in difficult positions and move the tees all the way back. I don’t think there’s going to be an 11-under round out there tomorrow, but if there is, hopefully it’s us.”

Kansas will begin the final round of the Mark Simpson Colorado Invitational Tuesday morning with a shotgun start at 9 a.m. CT.

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