The men’s golf team will look to end the fall season on a good note as it travels to Stockton, Calif., to compete in the Pacific Invitational at the Brookside Country Club.
Besides K-State, 11 teams plan to compete: Brigham Young, Denver, Fresno State, Marquette, Nevada, Oregon State, Pacific, Santa Clara, St. Mary’s, University of California-Davis and University of North Carolina-Charlotte.
The Wildcats will have five participants, including freshmen leaders Thomas Birdsey and Jack Watson, who have combined for five top-20 finishes this season. Sophomores Ben Juffer and Curtis Yonke, along with senior Jason Schulte will round out the lineup.
Head coach Tim Norris said the team has done well at this tournament in the past.
“We’ve had some success in California before,” Norris said. “The guys have to have a mindset to be ready to go on the first tees. We have to start firing off the bat which I think could be key for us.”
In 2009, K-State took fifth place at the Pacific Invitational and won the tournament in 2008. Graduated senior Mitchell Gregson led the team by carding an 8-under-par and finishing in fourth place in the victory.
The freshmen have been an impressive group to watch so far this season. K-State’s freshmen class sat in seventh place on golfstat.com’s recent Freshman Impact Rankings.
Norris said he has seen a lot of good things this fall not only from an individual standpoint, but also from a team one.
“The freshman have been the highlight,” Norris said. “At times it’s been a struggle, but the team has had a good attitude through adversity, and they’re striving to do better. I thought we played our best golf in the last few rounds at Baton Rouge and hopefully it can carry over to this tournament.”
The Pacific Invitational is a three-day event beginning today and going through Wednesday. K-State will tee off at 8 a.m. and play one round of 18 holes. Live scoring is available on golfstat.com.
Each day will consist of one round of 18, and Norris said he thinks that could give a bit of an advantage for the team.
“I think most coaches favor 18 holes a day because there’s opportunities to work with players between rounds,” Norris said. “With this format, you can address issues for each individual player.”