O’Neill wraps up historic season at NCAA Championship

Luke O'Neill 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)

Kansas State men’s golfer Luke O’Neill tied for 94th place at 11-over in the 2023 NCAA Championship at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. 

The junior qualified as an individual from the Bath Regional where K-State was the first team to miss the championship cut. In the first round, O’Neill carded 5-over, followed by a 2-over second round and 4-over final round.

“I’m really proud of Luke,” head coach Grant Robbins said. “I thought he played much better than his score showed. It seemed like each round it was one or two swings that really cost him. … All in all, it was a great experience and something Luke will learn from.”

O’Neill became the fifth Wildcat in program history to compete in the NCAA Championship and the first since 2006 when current PGA Tour member Robert Streb advanced. 

Hailing from Connemara, Ireland, O’Neill recorded a 71.64 stroke average this season, ranking sixth in school history. Teammates Tim Tillmanns, Will Hopkins and Cooper Schultz rank first through third with their performance this season. 

The Wildcats set a school record with a team stroke average of 281.47, almost seven shots better than the previous low of 288.24 set by last year’s squad. K-State tied for second in school history in team victories (4) and top-five finishes (7).

“I’m really proud of what Luke and the entire team accomplished this season,” Robbins said. “This season shows what this program can be. I’m really excited for the future.”

Texas Tech Transfer JP Roller will join the Wildcats next season, with incoming freshmen Bryant Polhill of Edmond, Oklahoma, and Harry Bent of Gullane, Scotland.

Roller was the No. 2 player in the state of Oklahoma coming out of high school and recorded two top-10 finishes this season at Texas Tech — his third season with the Red Raiders. 

The Wildcats will lose Hopkins and Tillmanns in 2023-24. Hopkins, K-State’s all-time career stroke average leader, leaves the program after using his final year of eligibility. Tillmanns will use his last year as a graduate transfer at Ole Miss. 

As of now, the Wildcats will retain O’Neill along with sophomores Nicklaus Mason, Laurenz Schiergen and Schultz. This group will look to lead K-State to the NCAA Championship as a team and record its third consecutive appearance in the NCAA Regionals.