The Jayhawks will conclude the regular season Saturday and Sunday in Santa Cruz, Calif.
April 12, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. - Seven teams currently ranked in the top 15 in the nation will be on display at Kansas men's golf's final event of the regular season, the Western Intercollegiate, Saturday and Sunday at Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz, Calif.
No. 1 Texas, No. 3 California, No. 4 UCLA, No. 9 USC, No. 11 Oregon, No. 12 Stanford and No. 15 San Diego State headline the 14-team field that also includes Kansas, Denver, Hawaii, Hawaii at Hilo, New Mexico State, UC Irvine and tournament host San Jose State.
"For us, it's a great opportunity," said Kansas head coach Kit Grove. "It's a crazy field on an unbelievable golf course. It's a truly special place. It's technically still a public golf course. Alister MacKenzie, who also designed Royal Melbourne Golf Club and Augusta National Golf Club, designed Pasatiempo. The green complexes are unbelievable. It was one of my favorite trips as a player. We played there three times when I was at KU, and I'm really looking forward to going back."
The Western Intercollegiate, which KU is participating in for the first time since 2009, will mark the final event for Kansas before it competes in the Big 12 Championship April 27-29 in Trinity, Texas.
"This will be a good tune-up for the Big 12 Championship because this is obviously going to be a golf course where you have to think and be patient," said Grove. "That's the big thing I've been trying to express to the team in the last couple of days. This will be a place like they've never really seen. You have to play smart, keep the ball in front of you, keep it below the hole and accept the fact that you're going to make some bogeys when you hit some pretty good shots. There will be some putts where you almost have to hit it sideways. You're going to have some three-putts. You need to be able to identify that and not let it lead to a four-putt and a double bogey."
Along with the unique golf course, the team scoring format will be new to the Jayhawks at the Western Intercollegiate. Rather than the traditional system of counting the best four individual scores out of five golfers for each team, the tournament is structured for each team to bring six golfers and count the top five scores each round. Competing for the Jayhawks will be senior Doug Quinones, juniors Chris Gilbert and Alex Gutesha, sophomore Bryce Brown and freshmen David Auer and Dylan McClure. Brown will be making his 2012 debut for the Jayhawks.
"The PAC-12 Conference plays six, counts five, so I think that's why this tournament is formatted that way," explained Grove. "This will be the first time we've played that format in a few years, so it's not what we're accustomed to. On paper, it probably doesn't bode really well for us. Our biggest thing this year hasn't been a lack of ability, but a lack of ability to put four good rounds together on the same day. Having to count a fifth round is probably not advantageous for us, but you never know. We're coming off of a week where five guys contributed and all had some solid scores. Hopefully, Bryce can get in and help us out at least one round. We'll just go from there."
Kansas will play two rounds Saturday beginning with a shotgun start at 10:30 a.m. Central. The Western Intercollegiate will conclude with the final round Sunday morning at 10:30.