Men’s golf takes fourth at Spartan Collegiate

Then-freshman Will Hopkins prepares to hit the ball on the driving range during practice on April 15, 2019, at Colbert Hills golf course. (Archive Photo by Brooke Barrett | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State men’s golf team captured a fourth-place finish at the Spartan Collegiate in Sea Island, Georgia, outshooting many competitive teams in the two-day event.

The Wildcats used the par-72, 7,060-yard Plantation Course to impress head coach Grant Robbins for their first action in two weeks.

“I thought we played really solid all week,” Robbins said in a release to K-State Athletics. “Overall, it was a great experience for our young team.”

After an over-par first round on Monday, the team bounced back with a 5-under second round later in the day that bumped them up from eighth place to sixth heading into the final round.

“We made a lot of birdies, especially in round two,” Robbins said after Monday’s rounds. “It’s a bunched-up leaderboard, so anything can happen [Tuesday].”

K-State carried its second-round performance into the final round, shooting just one stroke more, and moving up to fourth place in the sixteen-team field. The final round score was highlighted by 11 birdies through the first six holes and a short-lived tie for first.

“We got off to a hot start today and had our chances coming down the stretch,” Robbins said on Tuesday. “But unfortunately we missed a few short putts that kind of killed our momentum. It was nice to get in contention on the final nine, and I know it’s going to help us continue to grow and develop.”

Individually, sophomore Tim Tillmanns tied for sixth — his third top-10 finish of the year, shooting 4-under par (212) for the tournament. Tillmanns used birdies in his final two holes to solidify himself amongst the leaders. Freshman Luke O’Neil finished at 2-under par (214), netting him a tie for 12th, the highest finish for him so far at K-State.

“I was really pleased with the performance of Tim and Luke. They are a couple of young guys that have a ton of potential,” Robbins said.

Sophomore Riccardo Leo tied for 23rd, shooting 1-over par. The two veterans on the team, junior Will Hopkins and senior George Clarke, both finished one stroke back of Leo, tying for 30th at 2-over par 218.

It was the final round where the Wildcats pulled apart from one another, as Hopkins, Tillmanns, Leo and O’Neil were all tied after two rounds, with Clarke only being one stroke behind.

The Iowa Hawkeyes won the Spartan Collegiate with an 11-under par (277), outlasting Notre Dame by a stroke.

The Wildcats will be in action next week in Austin, Texas, in the George Hannon Collegiate at the UT Golf Club.