Cooper Schultz and the Wildcats — destined for greatness

Redshirt sophomore Cooper Schultz stands with head coach Grant Robbins and his first place trophy from the Wildcat Invitational. Schultz finished 11-under par to win the individual competition, leading K-State to a first place team finish at 27-under par. (Photo courtesy of Lathe Cobb | K-State Athletics)

Kansas State men’s golf has risen to new heights. After completing a fall season sweep of three championships, the team is positioned alongside national championship contenders. One key player behind its success is Cooper Schultz.

Schultz has already piled up accolades as a redshirt sophomore. He won the individual title at the Wildcat Invitational and was named Big 12 Golfer of the Month in September — the first Wildcat to receive this award since 2018. These accomplishments were achieved in addition to being named Kansas Amateur of the Year for two consecutive years.

“It was big because there’s been a lot of great names to come through Kansas,” Schultz said. “Just being compared to them is an honor.”

Despite his success, Schultz believes his best golf is yet to come. 

“This last year I had a little struggles … in my swing, but I still managed to get it done,” Schultz said. “Just knowing that I don’t have to play my best golf to be able to get the job done, it’s kind of rewarding.”

In the first tournament of the spring season, K-State placed third behind No. 5 Illinois who ran away with the team title 13 strokes ahead of second-place Arkansas. The takeaway for the team was largely positive despite placing far behind.

“We played, as a team, probably about the worst we could have played to get third … if that’s the worst we’re going to do, just think about the best,” Schultz said. “Illinois is a national championship caliber team, but so are we.”

For Schultz and the Wildcats to reach their goals, the focus is on keeping it simple. 

“It’s really just down to minimizing the mistakes,” Schultz said. “And of course just having fun … you’re obviously taking it seriously, but at the end of the day it’s just golf.”

Being a part of such a successful team has played a huge role in Schultz’s development. 

“The way my game has been [able] to grow is basically just being competitive, being able to keep up with the guys,” Schultz said. “We’re playing really well and the better your team is, the harder it’s going to be to qualify … you’ve got to have a good all-around game.”

Some Kansas Ameteur of the Year recipients have moved on to professional golf, like PGA Tour golfer Harry Higgs. Schultz broke Higgs’ junior amateur scoring record when he was 18. 

“I would say the best golfers in the world are on the PGA tour right now,” Schultz said. “My goal is to play against the best players possible so hopefully one day I’ll be there.”