It’s been nearly a month since members of the K-State men’s golf team played against someone other than their own teammates, but the Wildcats are finally ready for some live competition.
Head coach Tim Norris’ squad as set its sights to the west coast for the Fresno State Classic, which will take place today and tomorrow at the Sunnyside Country Club in Fresno, Calif.
“I played this course in college and growing up here, so I’m pretty familiar with it,” Norris said. “Some of our guys played here last year, so I think we’ve got a pretty good scouting report. We’ve been able to work at it a little bit and I’m pretty optimistic that we can have a good week.”
Youth was a main theme for the Wildcats during the fall portion of the 2010-11 season, and that trend has carried over to the spring campaign. K-State’s six-man lineup includes a trio of freshmen in Thomas Birdsey, David Klaudt and Jack Watson. Birdsey has enjoyed a solid start to his collegiate career, as he leads the team with a stroke average of 73.
The three first-year players will be joined by sophomores Ben Juffer and Curtis Yonke, as well as senior Ross Geubelle. Guebelle is one of just two seniors on the Wildcats’ roster and has competed in 21 events during his career.
K-State is the only Big 12 Conference team participating in the two-day, three-round tournament, but talented competition won’t be hard to come by. The 16-team field is highlighted by a pair of ranked teams in No. 14 San Diego State and No. 21 Duke. Other participants include tournament host Fresno State and Michigan of the Big Ten Conference.
Norris said he expects all 16 teams to perform well at the event. He also added that he thinks the golfers will enjoy the classic feel of the course, which he has some personal familiarity with.
“There’s always good competition,” he said. “We’re really not governed to playing conference schools. You just go where you think you’ve got the best chance. I think our guys are really going to enjoy this golf course. It’s a lot of fun, got some character. It’s an old-style course with big, matured trees and small greens, so I think it’s going to be great.”
The first two rounds will begin today with a 7:45 a.m. shotgun start. The final round is set to start tomorrow at 8 a.m.