SE: K-State Women’s Golf Looks to Continue Standout Season at Big 12 Championship

Projecting where the K-State women’s golf team will finish at the Big 12 Championship in San Antonio, Texas, this weekend can be difficult. It’s not a practice the Wildcats put much stock in because of how unpredictable the game of golf can be and how closely teams are ranked in the Big 12 Conference. 

Last season, four strokes separated sixth and ninth in the team standings. The year before, eight strokes was the difference between second and sixth. 

“In golf, there are no projections,” K-State head coach Kristi Knight said. “We don’t think that way.”

The Big 12 Championship is again loaded with talented teams, K-State included. The Wildcats (No. 49) are one of eight teams ranked in the top 51 of the country according to Golfstat.

“For me, I think that’s fun,” Knight said. “They have to go play their game, believe in themselves, have fun and be resilient. When we’re resilient, success happens.”

K-State enters the three-day conference tournament off of one of the program’s best regular seasons in recent history. The Wildcats won two tournaments and hold a team scoring average of 296.8 strokes per round this season, which currently ranks as the lowest in school history. 

“This is just a better team. We’re blessed with a good team,” Knight said. “Hopefully they look around at each other and say, ‘Hey, this is pretty cool. We’re a good team,’ and go have fun with it.”

Three seniors in Paige Nelson, Katherine Gravel-Coursol and Madison Talley anchor an experienced group of Wildcats, which also includes junior Connie Jaffrey, who possesses the team’s low scoring average at 74.09. Sophomore Chloe Weir (74.55) and true freshman Tash Carlsson (75.15) have made significant contributions as well, ranking third and fourth in scoring average, respectively. 

“We’re looking forward to it,” K-State assistant coach Jared Helin said of the Big 12 Championship. “We just have to stay process oriented and stick to our game. I think everybody’s in a good place with their game right now. Everybody has a lot of good things going on. It’s just a matter of sticking to your guns, sticking to your whole process and your whole game plan.

“They’ve done a pretty good job of it all season.” 

Of its 26 total rounds so far this season, K-State has posted 16 team scores below 300. In the Wildcats’ 12 rounds during the spring schedule, their team average dropped to 293.6. 

“They’ve played a ton of good golf,” Knight said. “We’ve had some rounds that haven’t been that great, and I think the common theme in those rounds that haven’t been very good is being impatient, living in the past or worrying about the future, or chasing a number, chasing birdies, rather than just staying in the process, staying in the present tense and playing golf. The days where they’ve done that have been good days. They’ve accomplished a great deal this year doing that.”

K-State could accomplish even more with a good showing this weekend. The Wildcats, in position to earn a NCAA Regional bid, can help their cause in San Antonio. They will attempt to do so at a familiar course in The Dominion Country Club, where the last two Big 12 Championships were held. 

“They’ve all seen it. They’ve all played it. I think there will be more of a comfort level,” Knight said. “They know the nuances of some holes and they’ve got some good memories on some holes. That definitely helps when you know the golf course a little bit better.” 

Knight said the “park style” course presents challenges in the form of doglegs and varying green sizes. Like all courses, she added, it boils down to hitting fairways and greens, and bringing the right mindset when that doesn’t happen. 

“Every golf tournament, no matter how good you play, there’s golf balls that go where you don’t want them to go,” Knight said. “The challenge is to respond well.”   

For more K-State Sports Extra content visit the archive or subscribe to K-State Athletics and get great content delivered directly to your email inbox.