Men’s golf finishes eighth in Big 12 Championship

Graduate student Jacob Eklund hits his ball out of the sand during the first round of the Big 12 Championship at Prairie Dunes Country Club on April 26, 2021. (Sophie Osborn | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State men’s golf team competed in the Big 12 Championship Monday through Wednesday in Hutchinson, Kansas. The Wildcats sat in eighth place at the end of all three rounds and finished in eighth on Wednesday with a total outing of 54-over par, 1,174 three-day total.

K-State carded a 6-over par 286 in the final round on Wednesday, after finishing with the second-best score on Tuesday with a 2-under par 278 and struggling on Monday’s first two rounds, finishing with a 50-over par 610. the Wildcats finished ahead of ninth-place West Virginia by 13 strokes and fell behind seventh-place Kansas by 11 strokes.

“I’m really proud of how the guys competed this week,” head coach Grant Robbins said in a K-State Athletics press release. “They gave it everything they had, and that’s all you can ask for. Today we got off to a good start, but midway through the round, we made a couple of bogeys on the par-5 17th that kind of halted our momentum.”

Sophomore Riccardo Leo and freshman Luke O’Neill both finished with the best scores on the team throughout the three-day span, both carding a 14-over par 294 and tying for 29th place.

Sophomore Tim Tillmanns finished strong on Wednesday carding an even-par 70, totaling his three-day efforts at 15-over par 295, which was one stroke behind both Leo and O’Neill, good for 32nd place.

“I think our inexperience was definitely a factor this week,” Robbins said. “If you look at our team, we are very young with four of our top six guys being freshmen in terms of eligibility, and this was the first time they’ve competed in a Big 12 Championship. I’ve seen a lot of growth with this group, and I’m very excited about the future. Hopefully, we get into the NCAA’s and keep the season going.”

Junior Will Hopkins finished carding an 18-over par 298 which would put him in a tie for 42nd place.

Graduate student Jacob Eklund rounded out the bottom of the team, carding a 21-over par 301 which put him in a tie for 45th in his final appearance as a Wildcat.

No. 3 Oklahoma State are the Big 12 Champions after all three days of competition, upending No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 7 Texas to claim the Cowboys’ second straight Big 12 Conference title. It was a very close competition coming down the stretch as the Cowboys totaled a 9-over par 1,129, which was just one stroke ahead of Oklahoma and two strokes ahead of Texas.

The Wildcats now await the verdict in the 2021 NCAA Selection Show. The television event will take place next at 1 p.m. May 5 on the Golf Channel.