Kansas heads to Big 12 Championship looking to make some noise
LAWRENCE, Kan. – After closing out the regular season last weekend at the Hawkeye Invitational, Kansas men’s golf now turns its sights to the postseason beginning with the 23rd Annual Big 12 Men’s Golf Championship this weekend (April 26-28). The No. 29 Jayhawks will be looking to continue on their strong spring play after finishing inside the top-three in their last five tournaments.
For the first time in the championship’s 23-year existence, the 10 teams will be traveling to White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, to compete at The Greenbrier golf course. The 50-player field will be facing off on the 6,826-yard, par-70 course with four rounds over the three-day event.
Since Kansas head coach Jamie Bermel’s arrival to KU for the 2012-13 season, the Jayhawks have steadily been working their way up the leaderboard at the Big 12 Championship. After finishing in eighth place during his first season, Kansas has placed inside the top-six each of the last three seasons including a third-place finish in 2017, which is its highest finish since 2000. That season also included Kansas’ Chase Hanna winning the individual title at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kansas, where he shot a 287 (+7). Hanna was KU’s first Big 12 individual champion and KU’s first since Slade Adams tied for the 1995 Big Eight medalist honors, also at Prairie Dunes.
Kansas will be traveling to the championship with three golfers having prior experience competing in the Big 12 Championship. Senior Charlie Hillier comes in with the most experience as he will be competing in his fourth conference tourney. After finishing 21-over in each of his first two seasons, Charlie Hillier made a big jump last season carding a 7-over (287). His 11th-place finish topped the Jayhawks leaderboard for 2018.
Junior Andy Spencer comes into the weekend with the second most experience on the team after participating in the last two Big 12 Championships. Much like Charlie Hillier, Spencer also made a leap on the leaderboard in 2018. After finishing 23-over (303) in his first go around, he responded by posting a 10-over (290) score last season. His 18th-place finish was second best on the team.
Sophomore Harry Hillier is the other Jayhawk to have taken part in the Big 12 Championship last season. In his first collegiate postseason tournament, Harry Hillier placed 23rd in the 50-player field at 12-over (292).
Sophomore Ben Sigel, redshirt freshman Jeff Doty and redshirt sophomore Drew Shepherd are the other three golfers making the trip to West Virginia. They will be competing in the event for the first time in their collegiate careers.
The Jayhawks are joined at the championship by five other universities ranked inside the top-30 teams in the country. This included No. 1 Oklahoma State, No. 6 Texas, No. 7 Oklahoma, No. 10 Texas Tech and No. 25 Baylor. This isn’t the first time that all of these teams have gathered in one place to compete this season. In the fall, all 10 league teams also competed in the Big 12 Match Play Tournament in Hockley, Texas.
During fall match play event, the Jayhawks went toe-to-toe with some of the best teams in the country and finished the event in second place. This included a victories over Oklahoma State in the semi-final round to advance to the finals against Baylor. Both Charlie Hillier and Spencer posted 4-1-0 records for the match play tournament.
KU enters the Big 12 Championship as the No. 7 seed and will be playing the first two rounds (36 holes) alongside No. 8 Iowa State on Friday. Both teams are set for an 8:07 a.m. (Central) start time from the 10th hole.
Teams will play 36 holes on Friday, April 26. The results from the first two rounds will determine the pairings and start times for the third round on Saturday and the 54-hole scores will decide the pairings and start times for Sunday’s final round.
Live scoring for the event can be found on Big12Sports.com or on golfstat.com.