Men’s golf takes seventh at Mobile Bay Intercollegiate

Will Hopkins, now a junior, watches his shot as it goes toward the green during practice his freshman year at Colbert Hills. (File photo by Brooke Barrett | Collegian Media Group)

In the first team event of the spring, the Kansas State men’s golf team came in seventh after finishing at 3-under par, 861, at the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate in Mobile, Alabama after concluding the final round on Tuesday.

After playing in the individually scored Thomas Sharkey Individual Collegiate two weeks ago, the Wildcats had the chance to compete for a team score this week at the Magnolia Grove Crossings Golf Course. Teams from fifteen different schools competed in the event.

The Wildcats had two players finish in the top-15 over the weekend, including junior Will Hopkins, who finished in a tie for ninth.

Hopkins’ three-day run included his best round of the season to this point when he carded a 3-under 69 on the opening day of play. Hopkins’ play on Sunday had him in a tie for sixth place and just two strokes off the lead after 18 holes of play.

Hopkins couldn’t match his play from day one for the rest of the tournament, but still turned in very respectable 1-under par 71’s on Monday and Tuesday. He finished the tournament in a tie for ninth place at 5-under par, with a three-day score of 211.

The next Wildcat on the leaderboard was senior George Clarke, who didn’t have a round over par all three days. Clarke finished in a tie for fourteenth after a 2-under par 70 on Tuesday to lock up his second top-20 finish of the year.

“There were a lot of positives this week,” head coach Grant Robbins said in a release to K-State Athletics. “Will, George and Ryan all had career-best finishes, and I thought everyone did a good job staying in the process and bouncing back after mistakes. As a team, we made 51 birdies and an eagle, so the potential is there. We just weren’t sharp enough on and around the greens. We have to hit it closer and do a better job of converting up and downs when we miss a green. There is definitely a lot we can build on going forward.”

The other two Wildcats to contribute to the team score were sophomore Riccardo Leo, who finished at 3-over par, 219, and freshman Luke O’Neill who ended two strokes behind him at 5-over par, 221.

Sophomore Ryan Bender competed as an individual at the event and ended in a tie for 21st. Bender’s three-day score of 1-under par 215 was the best 54-hole score of his career.

Illinois ended up as the winner of the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate, with a final team score of 37-under par 827.

The next chance for the Wildcats to tee up will be in Sea Island, Georgia, at the Spartan Collegiate on March 8.