🏌️♂️ Cooper, King Lead Jayhawks in Strong First Two Rounds of Season
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The Kansas Jayhawks returned to the links in style Sunday in the opening two rounds of the Fighting Irish Classic at Warren Golf Course, shooting 6-under par and sitting in a tie for sixth place in a field that consists of four Top 25 teams and eight Top 50 teams.
In the team’s first two competitive rounds of the season, the 29th-ranked Jayhawks shot even par over the first round, before firing a six-under, 274 in the second round.
Kansas is 11 shots behind the leader, No. 9 Florida and nine shots behind second-place North Carolina, ranked No. 5. The Jayhawks are just two shots out of third, which is currently occupied by No. 22 LSU and Georgia Southern, tied at -8. Host Notre Dame, ranked No. 16, is one shot ahead of Kansas in fifth.
“It was a total team effort from all the guys,” Coach Jamie Bermel said. “We still have some work to do on Monday now.”
Through two rounds, the Jayhawks have been paced by junior Davis Cooper and freshman Will King, who are both tied for 12th at -3. Junior William Duquette is also under par at -1 and is tied for 27th. Newcomers Cecil Belisle and Gunnar Broin also made their Jayhawk debuts – along with King – and sit in a tie for 50th and 73rd respectively.
“We had three new faces in the lineup today, and all three did well,” Bermel said. “Will King played really well for his first college event and David Cooper had a really nice second 18.”
Cooper, who had a solid sophomore campaign last season with a win at the Windon Memorial, opened with a 1-over 71, before turning it on and firing a 4-under 66 in the second round. He had seven birdies on his card, including three in a row on holes 16 through 18. He also had back-to-back birdies on the front on holes seven and eight. Cooper and King are just one shot out of the top three.
King, a freshman from Olathe, opened with a 1-under 69 in the first round and a 2-under 68 in the second. He had five birdies in his first round and overcame a double bogey to still card an under-par round. His second round featured three birdies and just one bogey.
Belisle had two birdies and a bogey on his card in his first round to card a 1-under 69 in his first 18 holes as a Jayhawk. He shot a 74 in the second round and is in the top 50 at +3. Broin had rounds of 75 and 72. Hank Lierz, playing as an individual, is 82nd at +7.
The day was also special for the Jayhawks because of something that took place in a different part of Indiana at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship in Newburgh. Kyle Westmoreland, who played collegiately at Air Force, where current Kansas Associate Head Coach Chris Wilson coached him as an assistant for the Falcons, and is close with the Jayhawks, secured his PGA Tour Card. He is the first U.S. Air Force Academy graduate to earn his PGA Tour Card.
“A special shoutout to Captain Kyle Westmoreland,” Bermel said. “Kyle played for Chris at Air Force and knows a lot of guys on the team. We were all rooting for him today.”
Kansas will be grouped with LSU and Notre Dame on Monday for the third and final round. Broin will be the first to tee off at 8:45 a.m.