Wildcats To Play in Fresno State Golf Classic

Monday-Tuesday, March 12-13, 2007
Sunnyside Country Club
Fresno, Calif.
Par 72 / 6,949 yards
Hosted by Fresno State
Teams (15):
Boise State, Cal State Bakersfield, Cal State Northridge, Fresno State, Hawaii, KANSAS STATE, Nevada, New Mexico State, Oregon, Pacific, San Diego State, San Jose State, UC Irvine, UTEP and Wyoming.

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State men’s golf team will look for continued improvement as it heads to Fresno, Calif., to take part in the Fresno State Lexus Golf Classic, Monday through Tuesday, March 12-13. The Wildcats will be looking to improve off their ninth-place finish just a week ago at the Braveheart Classic in Beaumont, Calif., as they shot 72-over par 936. Live statistics will be available for the Fresno State Lexus Golf Classic by logging onto www.golfstat.com. Results will also be posted on www.k-statesports.com at the conclusion of each day’s play.

     Built in 1906 and designed by William P. Bell, Sunnyside Country Club is located a mere 10 miles from the Fresno State campus. The 18-hole championship private club is nested just on the southeast side of Fresno.
     K-State is 6-7-1 this season against teams in the field, posting a 2-0 record against New Mexico State and also holding victories over Boise State, Fresno State, Hawaii and Wyoming... The Wildcats faced Cal State Northridge (6th) and Boise State (10th) a week ago at the Braveheart Classic... K-State will not face a team from the Golfweek/Sagarin top 25 for the first time this spring... No. 36 UC Irvine leads the field, followed by No. 59 San Diego State and No. 76 Oregon, who is coached by former PGA Tour great Casey Martin... The Fresno State Lexus Golf Classic was held every year from 1966 to 2005... The event started in 1964, but was rained out in 1965... There was no Fresno Golf Classic held a year ago... Fresno State has won six of the 42 events.

     The Fresno State Classic will be a special one for head coach Tim Norris as he has connections to both host school Fresno State and participant UTEP. He starred collegiately at Fresno State during his two-year stint after transferring from Fresno City College. As a Bulldog, Norris was a two-time all-American and his stroke average of 71.89 during the 1980 season stood atop the school’s all-time single-season scoring charts for 20 years. Norris, who earned his degree from UTEP in 1991, and coached the UTEP from 1990-97 before coming to K-State. At UTEP, Norris led the Miners to six NCAA West Regional appearances, as well as leading the 1990, 1991 and 1995 sqauds to the NCAA Championships.

     Freshman Joe Ida recorded his career-best finish at the Braveheart Classic last week, tying for 11th at 13-over par 229. With the performance, he raised his percentage of round counted towards the team score from 86.84 to 88.64. He also lowered his differentials (average strokes per round behind the leader) from 6.05 to 5.64. Furthermore, the Fort Scott, Kan., native holds two of K-State’s top five individual best rounds.

     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 26 career tournament to date, including 13-straight and all eight this season. Since coming to K-State, Streb has competed in all of the possible 19 team events and also competed as an individual in the 2006 NCAA Championship. However, that streak came to an end as he is was in the lineup for the Braveheart Classic. Both Gregson and Ida has competed in all eight events to date.

     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 three top-10 teams. After facing a top-25 team in its first three outings of the spring, the Wildcats can breathe a little easier as no teams in this year’s Fresno State Classic are in the top 25.

     The Wildcats were in a shooting slump the first two spring tournaments, placing third of three at the Lochinvar Challenge and18th at the Rio Pinar Intercollegiate. The Rio Pinar marked only the second time in the Tim Norris era that K-State has finished last in a field that had 10 or more squads (Rice Intercollegiate, Feb. 12-13, 2001, 10th of 10). However, history is on K-State’s side as that 2001 squad improved in the standings in the next four events, finishing as high as second in  a 10-team field at the Branson Creek Invitational. Kansas State took a step in the right direction last week at the Braveheart Classic as it placed ninth.

     Ben Kern, a K-State letterwinner from 2003-06 and the school's all-time leader in career stroke average, picked up his first professional victory by winning Tournament 6 on The Gateway Tour's Desert Winter Series. The Tucson, Ariz., native, carded a three-round score of 6-under par 210 (72-69-69) on the par 72, 7,074-yard The Wigwam Resort Gold Course. Kern won the event by two strokes over Brian Smock, who shot even-par 72 during the final round, allowing Kern to jump him on the leaderboard. Kern currently ranks third on the series’ moneylist and has amassed a stroke average of 69.22 over the last three tournaments.

     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 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.

K-State's Fresno State Lexus Classic Lineup 
NAME             YR-EXP HOMETOWN        RDS  AVG.
Joe Ida          Fr.-HS Ft. Scott, Kan.  22 76.18
Kyle Yonke       Jr.-2L Lubbock, Texas   22 75.64 
Robert Streb     So.-1L Edmond, Okla.    16 76.19 
Joe Kinney       So.-1L Antioch, Ill.    10 78.30
Mitchell Gregson Fr.-HS Waterloo, Ill.   22 76.41 
Spencer Alefs*   Fr.-RS Wichita, Kan.     3 79.33
* Denotes competing as an individual