🏌️‍♂️ Kluver, Jayhawks Out in Front After Day 1

PALM DESERT, Calif. – The Kansas Men’s Golf team got off to a blazing hot start at the Desert Intercollegiate on Friday, shooting 14-under as a team to lead by two shots after the opening round of play.

Additionally, freshman Luke Kluver fired a bogey-free 65 and sits atop the individual leaderboard by two shots.

“We got off to a solid start, and just kept making birdies,” coach Jamie Bermel said. “We had a perfect day of weather, and we took full advantage of the conditions.”

Playing in their first tournament since October, the Jayhawks showed no signs of rust in their spring debut at the Classic Club. Behind Kluver’s 65, William Duquette shot a 69 and is tied for 10th, while Harry Hillier and Ben Sigel both shot 70s and are tied for 20th. Freshman Hank Lierz fired a 74 in his Jayhawk debut.

Playing as an individual, Zach Sokolosky also had a stellar day, shooting an even-par 72.

Kluver, though, was the story of the day. The Norfolk, Nebraska native birdied the par-four first to go under par right from the start. He then birdied holes four, seven, eight and nine for a front-nine 31. He opened the back with three pars, before registering birdies at Nos. 13 and 14. He parred his remaining four holes for a career-low round of 65.

His previous low round was a 66. He tied for the player lead in birdies on the day with seven, and had success with par-fours, going four-under on them to lead the field.

“Luke had a great round today; a bogey-free 65,” Bermel said. “Coach (Chris) Wilson walked the entire time with him, and he was in complete control of his golf ball.”

Duquette also finished with a career-low round at 69, besting his previous career round of 72 by three shots. Duquette was even at the turn, but then birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 14 to fire a back-nine 33 and finish three-under at 69. There are seven players logjammed at -4 ahead of Duquette, meaning he’s one stroke away from the top three.

Hillier was bogey free on his round, collecting 16 pars and a pair of birdies. He picked up both of his birdies on par-fives, at Nos. 4 and 14. Sigel had four birdies on the day and shot a 34 on the front nine to get in the top 20.

“William played solid, and Ben and Harry were steady,” Bermel said.

Lierz had two birdies in his collegiate debut, while Sokolosky overcame a double bogey on the front-nine (his back) to post a 35 and get to even for his round.

“I thought Hank Lierz played solid in his first collegiate event, and Zach Sokolosky had a good day as an individual,” Bermel said. “You can’t win the tournament on the first day, but a team can be in a very tough spot if they get off to a bad start. We have 36 holes the next two days, and we need to continue to execute golf shots, and stay mentally tough.”

The Jayhawks have a two-shot lead over Georgia Tech, while Charlotte is three back at -11, and Oregon is four back at -10. Kansas will play 18 more holes on Saturday and wrap up with 18 on Sunday. Live stats can be followed here.