MANHATTAN, Kan. (Kansas State Athletics) – The 18th-ranked Kansas State men’s golf team, which is off to the best start in school history with three championships in as many tries, prepares for its toughest challenge yet at the Big 12 Match Play Tournament, held Monday through Wednesday in Hockley, Texas at the par-71, 7,007-yard Club at Houston Oaks.
“We are looking forward to the Big 12 Match Play,” said head coach Grant Robbins. “I think if you ask any of our players that have played in this before they will tell you it’s the most enjoyable event they play in all year.”
This annual tournament is played with a match-play format where individuals are paired up with their opponent and go head-to-head in an attempt to earn points for their team.
A win grants you three points, a draw one point, and a loss zero.
“There’s just something about the match play format that can really get the competitive juices flowing,” said Robbins.
The field has been split into two pools, with the Wildcats assigned to No. 1 Texas Tech, No. 21 Texas, Iowa State and TCU in Pool A.
Pool B consists of No. 15 Oklahoma, No. 17 Oklahoma State, Baylor, Kansas and West Virginia.
Following five sessions and four pool-play matches, the teams will be ranked 1-5 and pitted against their correspondent opponent from the other pool in the championship round.
“Every team in this conference is really good and anything can happen,” said Robbins. “We are excited to go head to head against the best teams in the country. With the depth we have on our squad, I think we can hang with anyone.”
The Wildcats certainly have the depth to make some noise in the match-play format. In fact, through three events, no Wildcat in the scoring lineup has finished outside of the top-20 on the leaderboard.
Two local products, Mason and Schultz, have been sensational so far for K-State. Mason has two third-place finishes to his name and Schultz won an individual championship at the Wildcat Invitational.
The two have combined for 10 under-par rounds and a 69.96 stroke average in what has been an encouraging start for the rising stars from Kansas.
Schiergen, who has been a member of the scoring lineup in every event throughout his young career, is coming off a top-10 finish at the Oregon State Invitational that included two under-par rounds.
Stoller, a freshman, will be making his second appearance this season, while O’Neill is set for his third competition. They each tied for 13th place to open the year at the Wildcat Invitational.
The seniors Hopkins and Tillmanns continue to play big-time golf for the Wildcats, combining for four top-10 finishes and a 70.22 stroke average. Their vast experience at these conference events will be crucial this week for a fairly young team.
K-State enters the event with a ton of confidence as one of two undefeated teams in all of NCAA D1 men’s golf with victories at the Wildcat Invitational, Old Town Collegiate, and Oregon State Invitational. The Cats have racked up a head-to-head record of 40-0 and tallied a 277.50 team stroke average on their way to earning national rankings from Golfstat (No. 18), Golfweek (No. 17), and the Bushnell/Golfweek Coaches Poll (No. 21).
The performances have made history as it is the first time ever a Wildcat team has won three-consecutive titles. The three wins are also the most ever in a fall slate and already ranks as third-most wins in a single season.
Despite the early success, the Wildcats also have something to prove after finishing in last place at the Big 12 Match Play Tournament a year ago.
Play will begin on Monday morning with two sessions before two more sessions of pool play are held on Tuesday, and the final session on Wednesday morning. The tournament will conclude on Wednesday afternoon with the championship round.
Live scoring can be found at Golfstat.com throughout the event.