Two Jayhawks in top-15 after first day of Big 12 Championship
TULSA, Okla. – Following 36 holes of golf on the challenging Southern Hills Country Club course, the Kansas men’s golf team sits in seventh place at 25-over. The Jayhawks were led by sophomore Andy Spencer and junior Charlie Hillier, whose 5-over scores earned the duo a share of 14th place heading into Tuesday’s second round.
“This golf course is really hard,” said Kansas head coach Jamie Bermel. “There really is no let up. It doesn’t matter if it’s a short hole or a long hole, these green complexes are tough. You’ve got to try to control your trajectory, your spin, but most importantly you’ve got to have a short memory.”
The first round saw the Jayhawks finish with just seven birdies accumulated by the entire team. The team’s first-round 301 marks just the second finish above 300 for KU this season, with the other instance coming during a frigidly cold and windy second round at the Hawkeye Invitational.
“The first round, the course was playing really hard,” added Bermel. “It was pretty windy, so the course was playing to about its max yardage. We started off strong but I think the guys just got a little beat up on the back nine.”
Led by Spencer’s 1-under 69, the team managed to shed 17 strokes off of its first-round score, and end with a second-round score of 284, the fourth-best team score of the day for either round.
Spencer’s second-round 69 led to a 5-over score on the event. The sophomore was the only Jayhawk score in the 60’s between the two rounds, and marks the eighth time he has ended below 70 on the season.
“He was solid all day,” said Bermel, of Spencer’s performance. “He hit a lot of good shots early but didn’t get a lot out of it. But it’s a hard golf course, so 5-over can sometimes be good.”
Hillier’s 5-over came by way of a 4-over 74 on the first 18 and a 1-over 71 on the back. Despite his six bogeys in the first round, Hillier’s 74 was the best KU individual score of the day’s first 18 holes. Hillier remained an anchor for the team in the second, as his 1-over 71 was tied for the second-best finish on the team.
Just one stroke behind Hillier heading into Tuesday’s third round is his brother, freshman Harry Hillier. His six birdies on the day were the most on the team, and tied for seventh-most in the field. Harry Hillier rose all the way up to eighth place on the leaderboard before a triple bogey and a bogey on holes 15 and 16 dropped the freshman out of the top-20. Harry Hillier currently is tied for 23rd place, and will be looking for his second-career top-20 finish.
Senior Daniel Hudson ended the day tied for 37th place at 9-over. Hudson went into the second round at 6-over, and looked to be improving after back-to-back birdies on holes No. 4 and 5 brought him up to 21st place. The senior proceeded to par seven-consecutive holes, before two bogeys and a double bogey dropped him to where he finished the day.
Fellow senior Daniel Sutton struggled to find his way around the challenging course, as he ended the day at 13-over, tied for 43rd place. The high-finish came by way of a first round 79 and second round 74. While Sutton struggled between the two rounds, Bermel knows he can count on his senior moving forward.
“We didn’t count his score today, but he’s been a good player all season for us, and all of his career for the two seasons he has been here” said Bermel. “He actually played well (Monday), he just didn’t get anything out of his game. He’ll be back and hopefully can put together two solid rounds for us.”
Sitting in seventh place, the Jayhawks are only four strokes out of a top-5 position. Daniel Sutton will be the first Jayhawk to tee off for tomorrow’s third-round action at 9:07 a.m. on hole No. 10, with live-scoring will be available at golfstat.com.
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