Remarkable Final Round Gives Jayhawks First Tournament Title Since 2007
Oct. 26, 2010
LAS CRUCES, N.M. –
An incredible third round at the Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate propelled the Kansas men’s golf team from fifth place to first place, giving the program its first tournament win since 2007 when it finished in first at the All-American Golf Classic. Kansas was 11 strokes behind leader New Mexico State at the end of round two on Monday and shot an 11-under-par for a score of 858, edging out second place UNLV by one stroke. This tournament concludes Kansas’ fall season.
The team win was just one of many highlights experienced by the Jayhawks. Sophomores Chris Gilbert and Alex Gutesha, and senior Nate Barbee all recorded rounds in the 60s on Tuesday and all three finished in the top 10 among individuals for the tournament. Gilbert shot a 65 in the final round, matching the seventh best round in KU history. Barbee ended the day with a 66 and Gutesha finished with a 68. Gutesha’s 54 hole score of 210 marks the best score a player from KU has shot in the fall season. Barbee finished the tournament with three eagles, more than any other team recorded as a whole.
Gilbert recorded the best round of his career on Tuesday while Gutesha matched his career best. Barbee’s round of 66 did not top his career best, as he posted a round of 64 last season. Junior Doug Quinones and senior Jeff Bell helped out in giving the Jayhawks the win by shooting scores of 74 and 77 on Tuesday, respectively.
Gutesha finished the tournament in a tie for third place with a score of 210. Gilbert finished in a tie for seventh place with a score of 213. Barbee finished tied for tenth with a score of 214. Quinones ended the tournament in a tie for 59th with a score of 228, and Bell ended in a tie for 63rd with a score of 229.
This win gives head coach Kit Grove his first tournament win as coach, and he was very pleased with the way his team ended the fall season to say the least.
“It was pretty amazing how (Chris, Alex, and Nate) played today,” Grove said. “I think we were 14-under among the three of them. That’s pretty good no matter how you look at it. Golf is a strange game and you never know where you’re at, but when I saw we were at 11-under for the day, I started to think we had a shot at winning. Of course you don’t know for sure until all the scores are in.”
“This was my first win as a head coach,” Grove continued. “This was pretty cool for me. It was great to watch the guys play so well. Chris went out and played mistake free golf. Alex was on a roll, he was pretty much in cruise control after the second hole. Nate had a great round shooting three eagles today. It was an interesting round.”
Grove admitted that he thought the chances of coming back to win from fifth place were slim, but attributed his team’s success to the confidence it had been building over the past few weeks.
“You never know what is going to happen,” Grove said. “We’ve been getting better over the past few tournaments, especially when we don’t have to count high scores. When our guys do well, their confidence goes up. It’s just like anything else, if you struggle, then there is going to be some doubt. But once you go out and play well a couple of times, you get some confidence and you start building momentum.”
After getting off to a slower start than expected in the first half of the season, the Jayhawks really began to pick things up in the second half. The team placed third at the Colorado Invitational, proceeded to place second in the Bill Ross Intercollegiate, and then won its final tournament of the season. Grove was happy for everyone on his team and said it was a well deserved win.
“I’m really, really happy for Alex,” Grove said. “I’m happy for Chris. He has been close all year but just hasn’t been able to close it out, today he did that. Days like this will allow us to have some self-belief.”
Grove and assistant coach John Handrigan spoke with the team on Monday and basically told them to go out and play and not get overly stressed when things go wrong.
“I don’t think today’s round would have been possible without yesterday’s round,” Grove said. “We kind of got off to a slow start yesterday, but before the second round, we made sure to talk to our guys about attitude on the golf course. We talked about staying positive when something goofy happens, be able to laugh it off. I know that sounds silly, but we didn’t want to let the golf course get the best of us the way it was getting the best of some of our opponents. Yesterday showed us something and today was really special. It was a great team effort.”
New Mexico State, Washington State, and Idaho rounded out the top five after Kansas and UNLV. Timothy Madigan of New Mexico State and Matt Rawitzer of Idaho finished first among individuals, both shooting a score of 208, and impressive five-under-par. The Jayhawks will resume play in the 2011 spring season when they compete in the Wyoming Desert Classic on February 26-27 in Palm Desert, California.
Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate Final Results
3. New Mexico State-276-298-290–864
4. Washington State-287-288-290–865
T1. Timothy Madigan (New Mexico State)-63-73-72–208
T1. Matt Rawitzer (Idaho)-68-70-70–208
T3. Alex Gutesha (Kansas)-72-70-68–210
T7. Chris Gilbert (Kansas)-75-73-65–213
T10. Nate Barbee (Kansas)-79-69-66–214
T3. Alex Gutesha-72-70-68–210
T7. Chris Gilbert-75-73-65–213
T10. Nate Barbee-79-69-66–214
T59. Doug Quinones-74-80-74–228
T63. Jeff Bell-74-78-77–229