Despite being atop the 12-team and individual leaderboard after one day, No. 21 Kansas State men’s golf and sophomore Nicklaus Mason both fell to a runner-up finish at the Colleton River Collegiate.
On Monday, the Wildcats got off to a hot start with the scoring lineup of Mason, senior Will Hopkins, junior Luke O’Neill, senior Tim Tillmanns and sophomore Laurenz Schiergen.
The lineup carded an opening round of 19-under-par 269 — the second-lowest round in school history. Mason recorded an impressive 7-under-par 65 first round for the lowest of his career and positioned himself in the conversation for the individual title early.
During the second round on Monday, the team turned in another clean card with a 13-under-par 275 performance. Four Wildcats placed in the top-25 as not a single Wildcat recorded an over-par round. Just outside the top-25 — tied for 27th — were Schiergen and sophomore Cooper Schultz who competed as an individual.
“The guys played really well today,” head coach Grant Robbins said. “The conditions were perfect, and with the greens as good as they are you could make a lot of birdies. I was glad to see us able to take advantage of it.”
Cooper Schultz and the Wildcats — destined for greatness
Mason shot a 4-under-par 68 second round and had a one-stroke lead going into the final day on Tuesday. K-State held a 5-stroke lead over second-place No. 24 Georgia Southern.
“It should play a little tougher tomorrow,” Robbins said on Monday. “There are some really good teams here, so we are going to need another solid round tomorrow.”
K-State carded an even-par 288 final round at the par 72 on Tuesday, pushing the Wildcats to a tournament total of 32-under-par 832. This total was two strokes behind Georgia Southern, who shot a 7-under-par 281 round to clinch the come-from-behind victory.
“Overall, it was a good tournament for us,” Robbins said. “We are disappointed in the outcome, especially because of the way we played toward the end. To win tournaments against good teams you have to be able to close. Georgia Southern hit a lot of clutch shots and made putts, and we didn’t. Give credit to them.”
Mason’s 1-over-par 73 third round placed him one stroke behind Michigan State’s August Meekhof for the individual title. His second-place finish at 10-under-par 205 was the highest placement and lowest score of his career. Mason’s 16 birdies tied for the most in the tournament.
Despite not coming away with the title, K-State still recorded its best 54-hole score of the season. The Collegiate served as the fifth top-five finish this season — including three team championships.
Hopkins and Schultz finished in 13th place with a 7-under-par performance. Schiergen and Tillmanns rounded out the Wildcats in the top-25 at 5-under par. Tied for 34th place at 3-under par was O’Neill.
“This is a tournament we feel we should have won, but we will learn from it,” Robbins said. “This is definitely an experience that will make us better.”
The Sea Island Invitational is next for the Wildcats on March 14 and 15. This is the first of the four remaining regular-season events remaining before the Big 12 Championship on April 24.