KU Seeks Fourth Title of Season Before Big 12 Championship

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – In a year that has consisted of three tournament titles and eight top-five finishes, the Kansas men’s golf team will travel to Iowa City, Iowa to compete in the Hawkeye Invitational taking place April 16-17. The two-day event marks the fourth time in as many years that the Jayhawks have played at Finkbine Golf Course, where KU has had a top-five finish in two of its past three trips to Iowa City.

When Kansas played at the par-72, 7,239-yard course for the first time in head coach Jamie Bermel’s era, the team walked away with two championships as the Jayhawks took home the tournament title and individual title in 2013. Kansas is in search of its fourth tournament title of the season, which would be a new program record.

“This is a golf course we are very familiar with and one that we have played well on the past couple of years,” Bermel said. “The weather looks good and I’m certain the guys will be ready to play.”

Leading the way for Kansas is senior Ben Welle. With two individual titles under his belt this season, Welle will look to capitalize on his past performances at this event, where he has scored a 216 (E) in his previous two appearances. His 71.22 scoring average on the season is one of the best in the nation as it currently ranks No. 46 according to Golfstat.com

As Welle’s fellow classmate, senior Connor Peck has been one of Kansas’ most consistent golfers this season, with a 93.33 percentage of rounds counted that leads the team. Of the six carded rounds that Peck has participated in at Finkbine Golf Course, two have been under par, helping him average 72.17 strokes per round at the Hawkeye Invitational.

Making his third appearance at this tournament is junior Chase Hanna. In the previous two years, Hanna has averaged 71.83 strokes per round, where he has recorded a round of even or under par in four of the six rounds he has counted.

Freshman Charlie Hillier, who has finished a tournament under par in five of the last six events, including all tournaments of the spring season, will look to continue his recent scorching hot play. Hillier’s last 12 rounds of golf have consisted of 11 rounds carded at even or under par, which includes a scoring average of 70.92 during that span.

Rounding off the group of Jayhawks that is representing Kansas is sophomore Daniel Hudson. Hudson had one of his best outings of the season, at last year’s Hawkeye Invitational, as his 219 (+3) was his third-lowest score of his freshman campaign.

Appearing in his first event of the season is junior Zach Kirby. The Dodge City Community College transfer will be suiting up in a Jayhawk uniform for the first time in his career, as his four tournament victories during his sophomore campaign earned himself First Team Ping All-American in 2014.

Kansas will be joined by 14-team field consisting of Denver, Idaho, tournament host Iowa, Big 12 foes Iowa State and Kansas State, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Alabama, South Dakota State, SMU, UMKC and Wichita State.

Tee-off for the two-day event is slated to begin at 9 a.m. CT on Saturday, April 16. For live stats and up-to-date standings, be sure to following along at golfstat.com.

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