Historic men’s golf season leads to fifth seed in NCAA Regionals

Kansas State men's golf learns they were selected to participate in NCAA Regionals. K-State was named the No. 5 seed in the Bath Regional. (Avery Johnson | Collegian Media)

In back-to-back seasons, Kansas State men’s golf has reached the NCAA Regional. In one of the best years in program history — including winning four season championships, which is tied for second-most in school history — the Wildcats were named the No. 5 seed in the Bath Regional. The tournament will take place May 15-17 at Eagle Eye Golf Club in East Lansing, Michigan between 13 teams.

“It’s a good feeling,” golfer Will Hopkins said. “This is what we’ve been working towards all year and we kind of knew that we had achieved our first goal. … We’re excited now.”

The Wildcats have been on track to make the NCAA Regional since the beginning. The team swept through the fall, winning three tournaments.

“We’ve been talking about it since the beginning of our fall semester,” golfer Tim Tillmanns said. “Winning all of our fall events, I think that was really a big confidence boost.”

After placing ninth out of 13 teams last year, the Wildcats look to grow from the experience.

“Last year was a little bit inexperienced for the whole team,” Tillmanns said. “Thirteen years and we [K-State] haven’t been there, and I think with that came a lot of pressure, and I think we learned a lot from that.”

Marking the first time the team has made back-to-back regionals since 2008 and 2009, men’s golf has come a long way.

“It took a while to get to that first step to make regional,” head coach Grant Robbins said. “We came so close in 2019, and again in 2021, and then last year we finally broke through and made that regional. This year we just had such a great year, we’re very consistent, top 25 all year. This year it’s all about where we’re going and what it’s going to take to advance.”

Robbins said the team’s consistency comes from having an all-around talented roster.

“The thing that’s made our team so good this year I think is the depth,” Robbins said. “If you look at the course of the year, there’s always been someone to step up.”

The team’s depth will be vital when facing its opponents in the Bath Regional. Those opponents include No. 1 seed Illinois, who beat K-State by eight strokes in the Hal Williams Collegiate, and fellow Big 12 team and defending NCAA Champions, No. 3 seed Texas.

“Every region was tough and this is obviously going to be a tough one,” Robbins said. “Every school that’s there has earned their way there. They’re going to be really tough to beat. We’re going to have to play our best golf.”

In every region, the top five teams advance to the NCAA Championship. As the No. 5 seed, this places the Wildcats in position to make its first NCAA Championship ever for the program. That achievement is the main focus on the team’s mind going to Michigan.

“It’s something we’ve had circled from the beginning of the year,” Hopkins said. It’s something we want to do for the school, one another, and with this being my last go around, it is definitely something that is motivating me.”