K-State golf ties for third place at Big 12 Match Play Championship

Ben Fernandez, then-senior in finance, carefully aligns his putt during a Friday afternoon practice at Colbert Hills Country Club. Before playing 18 holes, Fernandez works on perfecting his short game before playing a practice round. (Brooke Barrett | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State men’s golf team finished in third place in the men’s golf at the Big 12 Match Play Championship this weekend at The Clubs at Houston Oaks in Hockley, Texas.

In match play, individual golfers face off with a golfer on another team, and the golfer scores one point for his team for each hole that they best their opponent in. The team that has the most individual winners wins the match.

Teams were divided before the tournament into pools and played four pool-play rounds, one against each of the other teams in their pool, to decide a winner of the pool. A team got three points for a team win, one for a team tie and none for a loss. The pool winners faced off in the championship, and the runners-up in a third-place round.

For example, tenth-seed K-State took on second-seed Oklahoma in the Wildcats’ first round of the tournament after an opening-round bye. Four of the six golfers for K-State beat their Oklahoma opponents. K-State won that match 4-2.

Individual rounds were won by juniors George Clarke and Kyle Vance, sophomore Will Hopkins and freshman Tim Tillmanns.

K-State’s second round was a match-up with in-state rival Kansas, the seventh-seed, in the morning round of day 2. The Wildcats tied the Jayhawks three rounds a piece to move to 1-0-1. Vance and Tillmanns won their rounds, as did senior Jacob Eklund.

K-State started off the final day sitting in second in their pool behind Kansas. They needed to win to tie Kansas, who got their bye that morning.

The Wildcats dropped the match 3-2-1 against sixth-seed Oklahoma State. Vance and Eklund accounted for the two wins, while Clarke tied.

The loss put K-State at 2-1-1 and slotted the Wildcats into the third-place match with fourth-seed Texas.

Eklund and Hopkins won the first two matches to start, but the Longhorns beat Clarke, Vance, and Leo by one-hole each. Tillmans took the final round to seal the tie and a third-place finish for K-State.

First-seed Texas Tech wound up beating Kansas 4-1-1 in the championship round to claim the title.

K-State has one more fall tournament on Oct. 21 to 22 at the Royal Oaks Country Club in Dallas, Texas. The tournament — the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate — is hosted by Baylor.

Hi! I'm Nathan Enserro, a graduate student from Olathe, Kansas, working on a Masters in Mass Communication. I graduated in spring 2020 with a Bachelor's of Science in strategic communications from K-State. This is my fourth year covering K-State sports for the Collegian.