Men’s golf team rides strong round 3 to finish third in North Carolina

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A pyramid of golf balls at the driving range at Colbert Hills Golf Course in March 2017. (Archive photo by John Benfer | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State men’s golf team took third at the Tar Heel Intercollegiate in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, behind a good first round and a third-round surge this weekend.

The Wildcats finished the tournament 12-over-par at 876 strokes. They were seven strokes behind second-place Illinois and 13 strokes behind the winner — and host — North Carolina.

The tournament was played at the 7,242-yard, par-72 UNC Finley Golf Course on Saturday and Sunday.

K-State finished the first round in third place. The Wildcats shot an even-par 288 behind a pair of 71s from junior Ben Fernandez and senior Roland Massimo.

Later that day, though, the Wildcats struggled in the second round, going 10-over 298 to finish out the first day. They had dropped to fifth place in the tournament standings.

“I thought we had a little bit of mental fatigue in round two, especially when you are out there for over 11 hours,” head coach Grant Robbins told K-State Sports after the second round. “We are still in a good position going into tomorrow. We just need to get some rest and come out and play a solid final round.”

K-State did just that with a 2-over 290 in the third round on Sunday morning. The team was led by a 4-under-par performance from junior Jacob Eklund.

K-State’s 290 was good enough to overtake No. 13 North Florida by just one stroke for the third spot in the final standings.

In individual scoring, Eklund took fifth place in the tournament. He was 2-under-par for the weekend at 214.

Massimo scored a 75 in the second round and a 73 in the third to accompany his first-round performance. He finished in a tie for 19th with a 219.

Fernandez put together a 221 to tie for 26th. He added a pair of 75s to his opening-round 71.

Seniors JC Campbell and Jeremy Gandon made the trip to North Carolina for K-State as well. They scored 223 and 226 and finished 31st and 46th, respectively.

K-State likely capitalized on its momentum heading into this tournament after a first-place finish at George Mason and a third-place finish at Michigan State earlier this month.

The Wildcats are now off until April 8 and 9 when they will head to Columbia, Missouri, for a golf tournament hosted by the Missouri Tigers.

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