Rested up; KU golf heads to Stillwater for NCAAs
LAWRENCE, Kan. – After claiming the NCAA Pacific Regional title May 16 by a stroke, the message to the Kansas men’s golf team from head coach Jamie Bermel was to rest and to get into the weight room. Now fresh, the Jayhawks will head to the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2000, as play starts Friday at the Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
“We worked on a lot of 2-irons and 3-irons this week,” Bermel added. “I think that’s going to be a key because we’ll be using those off a lot of tee boxes. We’ll go down (to Stillwater) and have a long practice round Thursday. It’ll be probably seven hours with 156 people out there.”
Following Thursday’s practice round, the Jayhawks will be in the final group of teams on the course with a 2:10 p.m., tee time Friday starting at hole No. 10. KU will play the first two rounds with North Carolina, which finished fourth at the NCAA Kissimmee Regional, and BYU, the second-place finisher at the NCAA Norman Regional.
“I like our draw,” Bermel said. “We’ll be playing a little later Friday so we’ll be able to sleep in a little bit, wake up late, get a workout in and be ready to play.”
Finals play consists of three days of stroke play from Friday through Sunday (54 holes), after which the top-15 teams and nine individuals not on an advancing team will be determined. That is followed by a final day of 18 holes of stroke play Monday, May 28 to determine the top-eight teams that will advance to match play as well as the 72-hole individual champion.
“It’s going to be a hard golf course. There’s no let-up,” Bermel said. “The short holes are just as hard as the long holes. I think it’s a golf course that you need to be able to recover from bad shots and get it into a position to make a bogey, or even a double is not going to kill you. It’s the triple (bogeys) or the others that are really going to hurt. It’s 54 holes of qualifying and we can’t be counting 8s, 9s and 10s. You just can’t do that because there aren’t enough birdies out there (to make up for the high scores).”
The team national champion will be determined by a match-play format that will consist of quarterfinals and semifinals conducted Tuesday, May 29, followed by finals Wednesday, May 30.
Bermel will roll out the same lineup the Jayhawks have used for each of the last eight events.
Sophomore Andy Spencer will take the No. 1 slot for the Crimson & Blue followed by senior Daniel Sutton (teeing off at 10:58 a.m. CT) and junior Charlie Hillier (teeing off at 10:47 a.m. CT). The Jayhawk lineup will be rounded off by senior Daniel Hudson and freshman Harry Hillier.
“(The Reserve at Spanos Park at the NCAA Pacific Regional this year) Fit us well and we’re going to get more wind, Zoysia fairways and Bentgrass greens again this week,” Bermel said. “So hopefully we can respond.”
The Jayhawks enter the NCAA Championships with eight top-5 finishes over their last nine events. Live scoring for the NCAA Championship is available at golfstat.com.
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