K-State Takes Momentum to Ron Moore Invitational

Monday-Tuesday, March 19-20, 2007
     Monday: 8:00 a.m. (PT) - Shotgun Start
     Tuesday: 8:00 a.m. (PT) - Shotgun Start
Palm Valley Golf Club
Goodyear, Ariz.
Par 72 / 7,015 yards
Hosted by the University of Devner
Teams (17):
Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Devner, DePaul, Iowa State, KANSAS STATE, Louisiana-Monore, Nebraska, Northern Iowa, Princeton, Southern Utah, Texas-San Antonio, Utah, Weber State, Wichita State, Wyoming.

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Following a 5-under par 283 during the third round of the Fresno State Golf Classic just a week ago, the Kansas State men’s golf team will look to carry its final-round success into the Ron Moore Invitational, Monday-Tuesday, March 19-20 in Goodyear, Ariz. The Wildcats, who will be playing in their third event in as many weeks, will be making their first of two trips to the greater Phoenix area within the month. The event tees off Monday with an 8:00 a.m. (PT) shotgun start to the first 36 holes. Tuesday will also be an 8:00 a.m. (PT) shotgun start to the final round. Live results are not available for the event. Results will be posted on www.k-statesports.com at the conclusion of play each day.

     The par 72, 7,015-yard Palms Course of the Palm Valley Golf Club was built in 1989 and has been rated among Arizona's best public golf courses by The Phoenix Business Journal, and the ninth hole is routinely cited by avid players as one of the best par-5s in the state. For more information, please visit www.palmvalleygolf.com.
     K-State is 6-9 this season against teams in the field, picking up its second victories on the season over both Boise State and Wyoming a week ago at the Fresno State Lexus Golf Classic... No. 68 Wichita State leads the field... K-State will have the opportunity to see how its stacks up against competition from both the Big 12 Conference and the Central Region, as it will face Big 12 and Central Region foes Iowa State and Nebraska, as well as a two more Central Region opponents in Northern Iowa and Wichita State... Louisville will not be back to defend its event title, but Nebraska (2nd), Denver (3rd) and Colorado State (5th) all return from last year’s top five teams.

     Freshman Mitchell Gregson struggled to find a rhythm on the first day of last week’s Fresno State Lexus Golf Classic, carding a 6-over par 78 and a 7-over par 79 during the first and second rounds, respectively. However, the Waterloo, Ill., native, regrouped and came out firing during the final round on Tuesday as he made a 13-stroke improvement from round two to round three to card a 5-under par 67. He was tied for 74th heading into the final round, but jumped 35 spots to finish tied for 39th. His final-round score was the lowest individual score since Ben Kern pocketed back-to-back 67s to win the ASU Thunderbird Invitational last April.
     Gregson, who started the final round on the back nine, began his day with a birdie on No. 10 and added another on No. 13. He stayed at 2-under par as he made the turn, but bogeyed No. 5 to drop to 1-under. However, Gregson birdied the next two holes and was 3-under par until he grabbed an eagle on his final hole. 

     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 27 career tournament to date, including 14-straight and all ten this season, a streak that will continue this week at the Ron Moore Invitational. Since coming to K-State, Streb has competed in 21 of 22 team events and also competed as an individual in the 2006 NCAA Championship. Both Gregson and Ida has competed in all nine events to date. Sophomore Joe Kinney appears to be a major part of the spring lineup as he was a year ago as a freshman. Last year, Kinney saw action in seven-straight events and is in the lineup for the fourth-consecutive this spring.

     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 Kansas State will be playing in its third-consecutive event with no top 25 teams.

     The Wildcats were in a shooting slump the first two spring tournaments, placing third of three at the Lochinvar Challenge and 18th 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 two weeks ago at the Braveheart Classic as it placed ninth, and kept the momentum going as it finished seventh at the Fresno State Lexus Golf Classic last week.

     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 Ron Moore Invitational Lineup
NAME             YR-EXP HOMETOWN        RDS  AVG.
Kyle Yonke       Jr.-2L Lubbock, Texas   25 75.16 
Joe Kinney       So.-1L Antioch, Ill.    13 77.38
Mitchell Gregson Fr.-HS Waterloo, Ill.   25 76.20 
Joe Ida          Fr.-HS Ft. Scott, Kan.  25 76.12
Robert Streb     So.-1L Edmond, Okla.    22 76.00 
Spencer Alefs*   Fr.-RS Wichita, Kan.     6 77.67
* Indicates competing as an individual