SE: Gandon Off to Hot Start with Wildcats
SE: Gandon Off to Hot Start with Wildcats
It hasn’t taken K-State men’s golf freshman Jeremy Gandon long to get used to life at K-State.
Despite moving nearly 5,000 miles away from home to a new country, the Charpey, France, native has come in and started his Wildcat career on a high note.
Finishing with an 11-under par 205 at the Golfweek Conference Challenge last weekend, the freshman won his first career individual title and helped the Wildcats to a fourth-place finish at 12-under par 852.
“He’s starting to get adjusted,” explained K-State men’s golf head coach Grant Robbins. “Obviously coming from a foreign country like that, there’s always the adjustment period of getting use to a new environment, but the thing about Jeremy is he’s a very talented player. We knew he was going to be very good.”
Gandon’s score at the Golfweek Conference Challenge was tied for the 10th lowest 54-hole score in Wildcat history and it marked K-State’s 31st individual victory.
Despite starting the tournament’s final day in fourth place, he notched four birdies and eagled holes No. 10 and No. 18 for an 8-under par 66 final round score to secure his victory and tie for first with Iowa’s Raymond Knoll.
“I’m feeling good now,” said Gandon. “The first tournament (the Ron Myers Invitational in Durham, North Carolina) was really bad. I was a little bit confused at it, but I practiced a lot after that and I was really happy to win last weekend. I didn’t expect it.”
Gandon comes to K-State after an exciting European career where he was regarded as the 23rd-best amateur in France and the No. 30 amateur under the age of 18 in all of Europe (the fourth-best amateur under the age of 18 in France).
While he was still coaching at Memphis, Robbins, now in just his second year coaching the Wildcats, first heard of Gandon and saw him compete three years ago.
“I first saw him in the summer of 2013 at the British Boys Amateur in England,” said Robbins. “I watched him play, I talked to a couple of the French coaches about him and they all just said what a great kid he was. He’s a hard worker, really great in school. Then I got the job here and knew we needed another player.
“I had two players who played for me at Memphis that were from France,” Robbins continued, “and they knew Jeremy, so I guess they gave a good recommendation because he came here site unseen. He had never been here in Kansas before and we convinced him to come.”
After spending time talking with Robbins, Gandon decided he wanted to make the move to the U.S. and play golf for K-State. Though it may have taken a leap of faith, he’s glad to be a Wildcat.
“I had opportunities at other programs, but I thought Kansas State was the best fit for me,” Gandon said with a smile. “I’ve really liked the town; Manhattan is a very friendly place and the people are very cool. The golf course is very good here too. Practice has been going very well; everything is good here.”
And it’s not just Gandon who’s doing well so far this season – the entire roster has stepped up their game this fall.
“Compared to where we were a year ago, there’s tremendous improvement,” said Robbins of this year’s squad. “We have a lot more competition; we’re raising the bar. We have a long way to go to get to where we’d like to be, but if you look at the progress over the last year, it’s very, very significant.”
At the Golfweek Conference Challenge, K-State’s downed No. 7 LSU by 17 strokes and had three players finish the top 25 (Gandon tied for 1st, Oscar Spolander tied for 16th, and Kyle Weldon tied for 21st).
“They’re the defending national champs and we beat them by 17 shots,” Robbins said about his team’s ability to finish above LSU. “That’s pretty significant from where we were a year ago. We just have to keep working to improve. We learned some things from these first two tournaments. We learned that we need to be more consistent. In our first tournament, we had a chance to have a good finish but we didn’t play well the last round. We’ve made some mistakes down the stretch, so we just need to clean that up.”
Next up for Gandon and the Wildcats is a trip down south to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for the David Toms Intercollegiate, October 10-11. Stay tuned to www.kstatesports.com for more information on the Wildcats’ next tournament in the coming week.