K-State Starts Spring at Lochinvar Challenge

Monday, Feb. 12, 2007
Lochinvar Golf Club
Houston, Texas
Par 72 / 7,023 yards
Format: Best 4 of 6 scores
Arkansas, Kansas State and Lamar

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State men’s golf team starts the spring a little earlier than first expected as the Wildcats travel to Houston, Texas, to take part in the Lochinvar Challenge, Monday, Feb. 12. The event was added to the schedule in late December. The Lochinvar Challenge will be a different format than what is usually used in collegeiate golf as each team will travel six members instead of five, and the top four scores will be used to determine the final team score. Live statistics will not be available for the Lochinvar Challenge. Results will be posted on www.k-statesports.com as soon as they are available.

The par 72, 7,023-yard Lochinvar Golf Club hosts the Lochinvar Challenge. Located just north of downtown Houston, the 18-hole championship course, designed by Jack Nicklaus, was built in 1980.
Both Kansas State and Arkansas will have their hands full as Lamar is the No. 9 team in the country according to the latest Golfweek Ratings from Feb. 4... Lamar was the champion of the Club Glove Intercollegiate, the last tournament K-State played in during the fall... This season, the Wildcats are 0-1 against both Arkansas and Lamar... This marks the first time K-State has participated in a tournament with three or fewer teams since winning a duel vs. Oklahoma on Oct. 17, 2002... It is also the first time since Feb. 24, 2003, the Wildcats will participate in a one-round event... It is the first time in four years that K-State will not open the spring with the Matlock Collegiate Classic.

Behind its best round of the tournament, the Kansas State men's golf team improved one spot to finish 10th during the final round of Club Glove Intercollegiate. The Wildcats carded a final-round 309, finishing the tournament at 87-over par 951 on the challenging par 72, 6,985-yard Saticoy Country Club. Lamar, which led the field following the first 36 holes, ran away with the team title. The Cardinals carded a 29-over par 893 and was the only team to shoot below 900. Individually, New Mexico's Charlie Beljan was able to hold off Ricky Romano of Houston and Jason Kokrak of Xavier with a winning score of 2-over par 218. Junior Kyle Yonke led the Wildcats with a 17-over par 233 to finish tied for 24th. It is the second-straight tournament in which he led the squad. Specner Alefs, who competed in his first collegiate tournament, finished tied for 38th at 22-over par 238. Joe Ida and Jason Schulte, who competed as an individual, also tied with Alefs for 38th.

Kansas State has been one of the best first-round team in every tournament they have played in this season. In four out of the five fall tournaments, K-State has been in the top five after first round play, scoring an average of 296.8. In the second and third rounds, the Wildcats are averaging 301.2 and 300 strokes-per-round, respectively.

Freshmen Mitchell Gregson and Joe Ida were a major impact during the fall as K-State finished the first half of the 2006-07 season ranked No. 19 on Golfstat’s Freshman Class Impact Rankings. The duo became the first rookie competitors to take part in the first five events of the season under head coach Tim Norris’ watch. Scott McNeely and Bryan Milberger in 1998 are the closest, as each competitior played in the first three events. The 1998 duo combined for a 75.39 stroke average, while this season’s freshmen teamed up for a 74.39 stroke-per-round average in the first three events. In 1998, Milberger and McNeely combined for just one top-20 finish through the first three events, when McNeely tied for 16th at the Wildcat Intercollegiate. Gregson and Ida each have one top-20 finish, as Gregson tied for sixth at the Cetnral Region Preview and Ida tied for 15th at the Wolverine Intercollegiate.

Kansas State head men's golf coach Tim Norris announced the signings of Kyle Smell and Daniel Wood to National Letters of Intent (NLI) for the 2007-08 season. Smell will be coming to K-State with an impressive resume after being named the 2005 Kansas Golf Association (KGA) Junior Player of the Year. The Overland Park, Kan., product took home first-place honors during a qualifier for the 2005 U.S. Junior Amateur. He was also the runner up again at the 2006 Kansas Junior Amateur, falling by one stroke to current Wildcat Jason Schulte. Back in November, Smell won his first Future Collegians World Tour event by carding a two-round score of 5-over par 149 at the Bear Creek West Open in Dallas, Texas. Currently a senior at Blue Valley West High School, Smell has placed in the top-five in the state tournament his freshman through junior seasons, including a second-place finish as a sophomore in 2005. He was crowned Eastern Kansas League (EKL) Champion as a junior in 2006, as well as being named All-Sun Country in both 2005 and 2006.

Wood, ranked No. 45 in the Class of 2007 according to Golfweek, has had success both as a prep and in national amateur tournaments. He claimed a fourth-place finish out of 109 competitors at the Texas Junior Golf Tour Championship following a 36-hole score of 9-over par 153. He also tied for fourth at the AJGA Medicus Preseason Junior with a 3-over par 143. Currently a senior at Vista Ridge High School in Cedar Park, Texas, Wood was a regional runner-up as well as a state finalist as a junior in 2006. He was also the district runner-up in 2004 and 2006. The Leander, Texas, native, led the Rangers to district championships in both 2005 and 2006.

Those that stepped up into more of an important role during the fall were Kyle Yonke and freshmen Mitchell Gregson and Joe Ida. Yonke led the team during the fall in stroke average at 74.53, nearly a stroke-and-a-half improvement from last season. He led the team in its last two events of the fall, the Alister MacKenzie Invitational and the Club Glove Intercollegiate, and also tied his career-best finish of 17th at the Wolverine Intercollegiate with 3-over par 216. The Lubbock, Texas, native, also notched the top 54-hole score of his career at the Alister MacKenzie Invitational, where he finished at 2-over par 215. Gregson, a native of Waterloo, Ill., came out of the gate swinging as he finished tied for sixth at the Central Region Preview following a 9-over par 225. He finished second on the team in stroke average after the fall season at 75.07. His best tournament vs. par during the five-tournament fall stretch was a 3-over 219 at the Wolf Pack Classic. Ida had his best tournament at the Wolverine Intercollegiate as he paced the Cats with a 2-over par 215 to tie for 15th. He finished the fall slate fourth on the team in stroke average at 75.73.

K-State's Lochinvar Challenge Lineup
NAME             YR-EXP HOMETOWN            RDS  AVG.
Kyle Yonke       Jr.-2L Lubbock, Texas      15   74.53
Robert Streb     So.-1L Edmond, Okla.       15   75.60
Joe Ida          Fr.-HS Ft. Scott, Kan.     15   75.73
Jason Schulte    Fr.-HS Mission Hills, Kan. 12   77.33
Mitchell Gregson Fr.-HS Waterloo, Ill.      15   75.07 
Joe Kinney       So.-1L Antioch, Ill.        3   76.33