RCW: Sport Spotlight 4.23 (Men's Golf)
? First collegiate golf tournament
? First collegiate round in the 60’s
Not too shabby for the freshman ???? pic.twitter.com/vwRcbf2i8L
— Kansas Men’s Golf (@KUMensGolf) February 19, 2018
The Kansas men’s golf team headed to Palm Desert, California, to participate in the Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate from Feb. 16-18. Freshman Harry Hillier received word that this would be his college golf debut, and the freshman from New Zealand took the event by storm, tying for 25th place (best on the team) and leading the Jayhawks to their fourth top-5 finish on the season.
“It meant a lot to me to be able to play and represent KU in California,” said Hillier. “I couldn’t have asked for it to go any better.”
Hillier ended Friday’s first-round action in the middle of the pack; tied for 33rd place with a 1-over 73. Though the freshman ended the day tied with three other Jayhawks, his four birdies on the day led the team.
“He played well at times, and played like freshman other times,” said head coach Jamie Bermel, after Hillier’s first round. “It was good to see him post a solid score and hopefully he can continue to play solidly.”
Thanks in part to his first-career eagle in the second round on a 560-yard par five that he reached in three, Hillier moved up seven spots to a share of 25th place after his second round, 1-over 73. Just one stroke out of a top-20 position, Hillier was now the leading Jayhawk on the individual leaderboard at 2-over heading into Sunday’s final round.
Hillier started off the final round strong, parring his first five holes before a bogey on No. 6 dropped him to 3-over. Despite the minor setback, the freshman played veteran golf for the remainder of the round, as he recorded four birdies and not a single over-par hole for his final 12 holes. The round featured his favorite moment of the event, which happened on the 18th hole.
“The highlight of the event was my second shot on 18,” said Hillier. “My teammates were all waiting for me to come in, and finishing with a birdie in front of them was great.”
The birdie on 18 brought Hillier to a 3-under 69 on the day, which was one of only two rounds in the 60’s on the Jayhawk scorecard in the event. His first round in the 60’s of his college career lowered his tournament total to 1-under, regaining a share of 25th place, the best of any Kansas golfer.
“Harry played solid all three rounds,” said Bermel. “Nearly every hole (Sunday), (associate head coach Chris) Wilson was with him, and I think that really helped.”
For Hillier, despite leading the team to a fifth-place finish, he took the event as a learning experience.
“I found out that in college golf, you have to be very patient and let things happen, you can’t force things,” said Hillier. “There was a lot to take away from the trip, and I couldn’t be more thankful.”