RCW: Sport Spotlight 4.28 (Men's Golf)
Talk about clutch for Charlie Hillier!!
The junior EAGLES his third hole to bring him to a share of first place at 7-under ????
— Kansas Men’s Golf (@KUMensGolf) March 24, 2018
When all was said and done after Saturday’s third and final round of the Bighorn Invitational, junior Charlie Hillier was the one who propelled the Kansas men’s golf team to its fifth-consecutive top-5 finish of the season. Hillier’s 7-under 209 was the second-lowest 54-hole total of his career, and resulted in a share of sixth place on the Bighorn Invitational leaderboard.
“My iron play and management of my game was working really well for me last week,” said Hillier.
The consistent-approach play led to 14 birdies on Hillier’s scorecard at the end of three rounds, tying him for the ninth-most birdies in the event. Though the junior racked in the birdies, it was an eagle during Saturday’s third round that stands out as his favorite highlight of the weekend.
“The best part (of the weekend) was making eagle on the third hole,” said Hillier. “Starting the day, I was just two (shots) back of the leader. So that really put me in the mix early and gave me a good chance to win.”
Though he came up short of an individual medal, Hillier’s performance marks his second top-10 finish of the season, and the 10th of his career. This top-10 finish, in particular, came by way of three rounds under-par, upping the New Zealand-native’s total for rounds under-par to 19, the most on the team this season.
To Kansas head coach Jamie Bermel, he’s seen a new and improved version of Hillier this season.
“Charlie has a new attitude this semester,” said Bermel. “He has a sense of urgency to his game and he seems to be settling in nicely. He really wants to be a great player and he’s really paying attention to the little things. He is taking his game and preparation very seriously and really tries to correct his issues during practice. Even though he came up just short of winning last week, if he continues to put himself in that position, his time will come.”
For Hillier, the continued success on the links has resulted in a confidence that he will look to carry through the team’s remaining two regular-season events and postseason. The Jayhawks’ next event is the Irish Creek Invitational April 7-8 at the Club at Irish Creek in Kannapolis, North Carolina. Kansas men’s golf will then wrap up its 2017-18 regular season on the Finkbine Golf Course in Iowa City, Iowa, competing in the Hawkeye Invitational April 14-15. How the team fares in the postseason will determine how long the Jayhawks continue playing. Bermel’s Jayhawks will tee off at the Big 12 Championship, a three-day event to be played at the Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, April 23-25.
“This weekend was a great confidence builder,” said Hillier. “Knowing I can compete against some of the better teams in the country gives me great confidence heading into the final stretch of the season.”