Hot-Streaking Kansas Wins Title at Desert Intercollegiate
PALM DESERT, Calif. – In a year that has already seen success, the Kansas men’s golf team will travel back to Lawrence with its bags weighing a little heavier, as the Jayhawks won the Desert Intercollegiate on Sunday at Classic Club. The victory not only marks the third title of the 2015-16 campaign, but also makes this the first time since 2003-04 that a KU team won three or more events in a season.
While the team led for much of the three-day tournament, Kansas’ grit was tested in the third and final round, to finish with scores of 285-290-291–866 (+2). The Jayhawks started off to a slow start on Sunday, but a strong back nine allowed KU to come out on top of second-place finisher Colorado by three strokes. Big 12 foe Texas Tech completed the three-day event in third-place with a score of 870 (+6).
“It was a great team victory and the guys played with a lot of mental toughness today,” Kansas head coach Jamie Bermel said. “We didn’t get off to a very good start, but they battled until the end. We beat some good teams and did it from start to finish.”
Leading the way for KU were the talented underclassmen in freshman Charlie Hillier and sophomore Daniel Hudson. After walking off the course on Sunday with a bogey-free round of golf, Hillier placed tied for third in the event, which is the best finish of his young collegiate career.
With scores of 70-72-70–212 (-4) the New Zealand native was amongst tournament’s top individuals, tying for fourth in birdies recorded. Hillier finished the tournament three strokes behind individual winner Sean Walsh of Gonzaga.
Hudson, who tied for the tournament lead in birdies carded, finished the weekend tied for fifth, which is his second top-five placing of the season. The three birdies he recorded on the back-nine on Sunday, came at critical moments and helped the Jayhawks extend their lead. When Hudson headed back to the clubhouse at the end of the day, he posted scores of 70-71-72–213 (-3).
“Charlie and Dan grew up and matured their game this week,” Bermel said. “Charlie didn’t play like a freshman this week and Dan showed a lot of resilience out there as well.”
After posting back-to-back opening rounds of 72, senior Connor Peck completed the Desert Intercollegiate with a total of 220 (+4), which was good enough to be placed in the top-20. He tied for 19th, making this the third time this season, and eight of his career where Peck has finished and event in the top-20.
Behind Peck on the Kansas leaderboard was junior Chase Hanna, who had a bounce-back performance after struggling in the second round. Hanna finished the tournament tied for 45th, as he completed rounds of 73-79-73–225 (+9).
Rounding out the squad that represented KU was senior Ben Welle. Placing out of the top-15 for the first time this season, Welle finished tied for 63rd and will look to improve his scores in the next event he competes in, after posting a 76-75-76—227 (+11) this weekend.
Participating in his second event of the season was Brock Drogosch. The sophomore finished the tournament with scores of 75-72-75–222 (+6) and placed tied for 26th, which is his highest finish since last season.
“We didn’t have our best today, but we found a way to gut it out and get the victory. It was a great day for the Jayhawks,” Bermel said.
Up next, Kansas will travel to Lafayette, Louisiana to compete in the LA Classics Invitational. The two-day event will take place Feb. 29 – March 1.
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