Wildcats Trek to Orlando for Rio Pinar

Monday-Tuesday, Feb. 19-20, 2007
    Monday: 8:00 a.m. (ET) - Shotgun Start
    Tuesday: 8-10:00 a.m. (ET) Tee Times
Rio Pinar Country Club
Orlando, Fla.
Par 72 / 6,978 yards
Hosted by Memphis
Teams (18):
Furman, Georgia Southern, KANSAS STATE, Louisville, Memphis, Mercer, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ohio State, South Alabama, South Florida, Southern Miss, Texas-Arlington, Tulsa, UNC-Wilmington, UT-Chattanooga, Wichita State.

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Following a one-round tune-up last week at the Lochinvar Challenge, the Kansas State men’s golf team will get back into the flow of three-round competitions, starting with the Rio Pinar Intercollegiate Monday-Tuesday, February 19-20, in Orlando, Fla. The two-day event will begin with an 8:00 a.m. (ET) shotgun start for the first two rounds on Monday. Monday’s results will determine when the Wildcats tee off on Tuesday. K-State’s trip to Orlando marks the fourth-straight year that the Wildcats will play at least one event in the Sunshine State, with the three previous events being the Matlock Collegiate Classic. Live statistics will not be available for the Rio Pinar Intercollegiate. Results will be posted on www.k-statesports.com as soon as they are made available at the conclusion on each day.

Located in the southeastern part of Orlando, Fla., the Rio Pinar Country Club is a par 72, 6,978-yard championship course. The course, one of the oldest private clubs in the Orlando area, has undergone over $1 million in renovations in the past five years. For more information on the Rio Pinar Country Club, please visit www.riopinar.com.
K-State is 3-2-0 this season against teams in the field, posting 1-0 records against Furman and Texas-Arlington, a 1-1 record against Missouri and a 0-1 record against Southern Miss... Three opponents are from the Central Region (Missouri, Tulsa, Wichita State)... Louisville, Mississippi State and Tulsa all have two tournament victories on the season... K-State’s 17 opponents this week ties the Wolf Pack Classic for the most in a tournament this season... Three of the top-five teams from last year’s event will compete in 2007 (Southern Miss [2nd], Texas-Arlington [3rd] and Louisville [4th]).

Kansas State has relied heavily on the play of junior Kyle Yonke, sophomore Robert Streb and freshmen Mitchell Gregson and Joe Ida. Yonke has appeared in 24 career tournaments to date, including 11-straight and all six this season. For his career, he is averaging 75.61 strokes per round and has placed in the top 20 on four occasions. Since coming to K-State, Streb has competed in all of the possible 18 team events and also competed as an individual in the 2006 NCAA Championship. He has amassed a career stroke average of 74.49 and recorded seven top-20 finishes and two top-10s. Gregson and Ida are following in Streb’s footsteps as both have seen action in the first six events of their freshman campaigns, combining for four top-20 finishes and two top-10s.

The Wildcats have faced tough competition up to this point in the season and will continue to tee it up against highly-ranked opponents. K-State has faced or will face nine of the top 25 teams in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin Ratings, including four top-10 teams. One of those teams - No. 18 Tulsa - will play in Orlando.

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 was in the top five after first round play, and scored an average of 296.8 in the first round of those events. In the second and third rounds, the Wildcats averaged 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 competitor 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 Central 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.

K-State's Rio Pinar Intercollegiate Lineup
NAME             YR-EXP HOMETOWN       RDS AVG.
Kyle Yonke       Jr.-2L Lubbock, Texas  16 75.00 
Robert Streb     So.-1L Edmond, Okla.   16 76.19 
Joe Ida          Fr.-HS Ft. Scott, Kan. 16 75.94
Mitchell Gregson Fr.-HS Waterloo, Ill.  16 75.25 
Joe Kinney       So.-1L Antioch, Ill.    4 77.50