Strong Day One Puts Jayhawks in Position for Fourth Title of Season
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Heading into Sunday’s final round of the Hawkeye Invitational, the Kansas men’s golf team will look to secure its fourth tournament title of the season, following an opening day that featured three Jayhawks in the top-10. KU shot scores of 282-291–572 (-3) in Saturday’s first two rounds of the event, and now holds a four-stroke lead over Big 12 foes Iowa State and Kansas State, who are tied for second.
After the first 36 holes of the 54-hole event, Kansas leads the 14-team field in three different categories, including par-4 score (4.15), par-5 score (4.45) and birdies recorded (41).
“With the exception of holes 16-18, we had a really solid day of golf today,” Kansas head coach Jamie Bermel said. “We will need everyone to play well on Sunday for us to come out on top.”
Coming out of the tee box with a hot club was junior Chase Hanna, who currently leads the Jayhawks with an overall score of 142 (-2). His bogeyless front-nine, helped guide him to record a 69 (-3) in the first round. That score marked Hanna’s 11th round under par on the year, giving him a chance for his second top-five placing of the season, as he currently stands tied for fifth, just four strokes behind overall leader Francois Lagraulet of UMKC.
Behind Hanna on the Kansas leaderboard is freshman Charlie Hillier. By firing off a 68 (-4) in the opening round, Hillier, extended his team-high eighth first round score under par. Though he struggled to keep that momentum in the afternoon session, Hillier will enter Sunday in position to claim his sixth top-10 finish of the season, standing in ninth place.
For Connor Peck, the senior finished the opening day on a strong note. The six birdies he fired off in the second round, gave him a day one total of 11 birdies, which leads the 75-golfer field. His score of 70 (-2) in the second round, marked his 13th round under par on the season, giving him a 36-hole total of 144 (E), which was good enough to be tied for 10th.
Sophomore Daniel Hudson carded scores of 71-74–145 (+1) on Saturday, giving him a chance at claiming his third top-10 finish of the year, as he is currently tied for 12th. Senior Ben Welle will look to bounce back from his performance. Welle recorded a two-round score of 148 (+5) and is just three strokes behind the top-20, standing in an eight-way tie for 34th-place.
In just his first round of play of the 2015-16 season, junior Zach Kirby had the opportunity to write in a 2-under on his scorecard, after sinking an eagle on the par-five 15th hole. His first day total of 150 (+6) was good enough to crack the top-50, being tied for 42nd, as Kirby will look to climb up the leaderboard on Sunday.
The third and final round of the Hawkeye Invitational will resume on Sunday at Finkbine Golf Course. The shotgun start beginning at 9 a.m. and can be followed on golfstat.com.
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