RCW: Sport Spotlight 4.8 (Men's Golf)
— Kansas Men’s Golf (@KUMensGolf) September 12, 2017
Coming into the season, the Kansas men’s golf team was elated to hear that a freshman from Deephaven, Minnesota, would be joining the team. This new Jayhawk came to KU with a decorated high school career, which featured individual and team state titles, the 2017 Mr. Golf award in the state of Minnesota and a spot in the 2017 U.S. Amateur Championship. The accomplished freshman being referred to is Ben Sigel.
His success on the course during high school has translated well to college, as Jayhawk head coach Jamie Bermel has slotted Sigel in the lineup for each of the team’s four events to start the season. Though he has scored as an individual in all four tournaments, Sigel’s start to his college career has impressed Bermel.
“He’s been working hard on his game,” said Bermel. “He’s a scrappy player and has an edge to his game that makes him very competitive every day.”
To Sigel, the adaptation to college life and golf has gone as well as he could have wanted.
“(It) has been pretty smooth so far,” said Sigel of the adjustment. “It took a couple of weeks to get a daily routine to be able to keep up with our busy schedule, but now it’s comfortable for me.”
Sigel’s first collegiate competition got off to a rough start, as a 10-over 80 during the second round of the Badger Invitational put Sigel at a tie for 75th place heading into the final round. Sigel viewed the previous day’s miscues as a learning experience and had a change in mindset before the third round.
“I was disappointed with how I played the second round and how I managed my game,” admitted Sigel. “So my goal for the third round was to have fun and put less pressure on myself.”
The mental adjustment paid off, as Sigel holed five birdies, and his 3-under 69 was tied for the second-best Jayhawk performance on the day. His first round in the 60’s of his college career resulted in a 21-spot jump on the individual leaderboard.
On the season, Sigel has recorded five rounds of even or under-par golf, and his stroke average currently sits at a 73.75. His best career finish was a tie for 28th at the Maui Jim Invitational, where his 5-over 221 was just two strokes shy of a spot in the top-20.
Sigel has enjoyed all aspects of his college golf experience, but his favorite part is traveling and spending time with his teammates.
“We’re lucky to travel to great places and good courses every week,” said Sigel. “One memory that sticks out was playing the par-3 course at The Prairie Club. That was a lot of fun.”
In Bermel’s eyes, he sees the freshman having a tremendous impact on the Jayhawk golf program.
“I think he has a lot of upside,” added Bermel. “The experience he is getting by playing this fall will only help his game in the future.”
Time will tell how Sigel’s college career will end up, but it is certain that he is enjoying the experience right now.