Men’s golf finishes 7th at Big 12 Championship, looks ahead to NCAA Regionals

Tim Tillmanns eyes the course during the first round of the Big 12 Golf Championship at Prairie Dunes Country Club on April 26, 2021. (Archive photo by Sophie Osborn | Collegian Media Group)

No. 25 Kansas State men’s golf entered the Big 12 Championship with hopes of winning its first conference title to add to a historic season but suffered a 7th-place finish. All 10 Big 12 teams competed, including seven ranked teams. 

“I’ve always said the Big 12 is the best conference championship in all of college golf,” head coach Grant Robbins said before the tournament. “Being able to compete for 72 holes against some of the best teams in the country on one of the best courses in the country is very special.”

The championship consisted of four rounds: the first two on Monday, followed by one on Tuesday and a final round on Wednesday. It was held at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson. 

Seniors Will Hopkins and Tim Tillmanns, junior Luke O’Neill and sophomores Cooper Schultz and Nicklaus Mason competed for the Wildcats.

The lineup got off to a slow start, placing ninth after Monday’s two rounds. Each scorer was within two strokes of the other, with O’Neill scoring the lowest after contributing 1 over to the team total of 31 over.

K-State climbed two spots with an 8-over third round on Tuesday. Schultz led the team with a 2-under round, highlighted by his second eagle in the championship.

“It was a great round by Cooper today,” Robbins said on Tuesday. “He drove the ball extremely well and was pretty solid in all aspects of his game.”

Each Wildcat improved their placement on the individual leaderboard in the final round. However, K-State remained in seventh place as a team, finishing with a 72-hole championship total of 41 over par.

“I am proud of how they battled back,” Robbins said. “We just dug too big of a hole on the first day. Hopefully we can use this as momentum heading into regionals.”

Schultz continued his impressive play, jumping seven spots on the leaderboard during the final round and finishing in 12th place at 8 over. 

Hopkins and O’Neill both finished with even-par rounds. O’Neill totaled 9 over par to tie for 15th place, and Hopkins rose to 21st place at 11 over. 

Tillmanns moved up four spots to 29th place at 14 over. Mason rounded out the lineup by rising three spots during the final round for a 36th-place tie at 20 over.

The NCAA Regional assignment for K-State will be announced at noon Wednesday, May 3 on the GOLF Channel. Advancement to one of six regional sites will mark the first time the Wildcats have made back-to-back postseason appearances since 2008-2009.