Wildcats Win Ron Moore Invitational Title

GOODYEAR, Ariz. The Kansas State men's golf team is done playing the role of an also-ran. With a balanced scoring effort on Sunday, the Wildcats captured the team's first tournament championship in over four years at the Ron Moore Invitational at Palm Valley Golf Club.

K-State, which has placed in the top-5 in five events this season including two second place finishes, fired a three-day total of 280-278-287--845 (-19) and held off a charge from Ohio State to win its first title since the 2003 Purina Classic.

"We've played nine golf tournaments (this season) and we've been in the top four going into the last round in all but one of them," K-State head coach Tim Norris said. "We've had a lot of experience playing in the last pairing on the last day, and we felt like today was our day.

"We've had a winning effort several times this year. It was nice to finally see these guys rewarded because they've worked extremely hard this year."

The Wildcats entered Sunday's final round three strokes behind San Diego, but the Toreros faded leaving the hot-shooting Buckeyes as the last threat. Ohio State, which opened the tournament with the third-worst round of 292, shot a 277 on Saturday and a 278 on Sunday but couldn't overtake K-State.

"The win today was really keyed by playing team golf," Norris said. "A lot of guys were right in it, even our throw out score wasn't a high number during any of the rounds. All the guys were pretty comfortable knowing everybody was going to play pretty well.

"We just went out and took the tournament. We didn't wait for anyone to play badly. I don't think the guys were tentative, everyone had some bad shots and some bad holes, but they bounced right back. That was really key today because the course played a little bit tougher. There was a little bit of wind today and some of the pins were tucked back into the corners."

Joe Ida was the top shooter for Kansas State on Sunday with a 2-under 70. His three-day total of 68-69-70--207 (-9) placed him in a tie for third overall and is the seventh best 54-hole score in K-State history. Ida was seven strokes behind Boise State's Troy Merritt (16-under 200) who captured the Ron Moore Invitational individual crown for the second-consecutive season.

Robert Streb joined Ida under par on Sunday and rebounded from an opening-day 75 to record back-to-back 1-under 71s. Streb finished the tournament 1-over 217 and tied for 34th overall.

Mitchell Gregson and Kyle Yonke both finished in the top 20 individually. Gregson contributed a 1-over 73 on Sunday and finished tied for 11th with a 5-under 211. Yonke's 74 on Sunday didn't contribute to the team score but a pair of solid scores, including a career-best 68 on Saturday, put him in a tie for 20th at 2-under 214 for the tournament.

Ross Geubelle contributed his second round of the tournament towards the team score with a 1-over 73 and finished 4-over 220 on Sunday. K-State freshman Daniel Wood competed as an individual in a field of unattached players and tied Ohio State's Dan Rush for the individual title with a 2-under 214.

"We've still got to stay on task, be a little sharper around the greens," Norris said of his team's effort. "We can build on this. I don't see this as the end of something, I see this as the start of something. Hopefully we can keep the momentum going throughout the rest of the spring."

As a team the Wildcats have re-written the K-State record books this season. The 2007-08 squad shot the lowest round in school history (826 at the Pacific Invitational) and the fourth-best round (844 at the Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate) last fall and the 845 shot over the weekend is the fifth-best 54-hole team score in school history. K-State has now won 24 team titles since 1969, the earliest year in the K-State golf archives.

"I can't stress enough that the indoor facility has helped us be at this level this early in the spring," Norris said. "Hopefully we can build off of this and keep getting better as the season progresses."

K-State returns to Kansas for its next competition, the Diet Pepsi Shocker Classic on March 31-April 1 at Wichita Country Club.

Ron Moore Invitational
Palm Valley Golf Club
Goodyear, Ariz.
Par 72, 7,015 yards

Team Scores: 1. Kansas State 280-278-287845 (-19); 2. Ohio State 292-277-278847 (-17); 3. Utah 285-285-281851 (-13); 4. Boise State 289-277-286852 (-14); 5. Royal Canadian Golf Association Development Team 279-284-291854 (-10); 6. San Diego 277-278-301856 (-8); 7. Denver 284-282-292858 (-6); 8. Colorado State 285-279-295859 (-5); 9. Northern Iowa 284-290-292866 (+2); T10. Iowa State 284-291-292867 (+3); T10. New Mexico State 286-293-288867 (+3); 12. Kansas 291-285-292868 (+4); 13. Southern Utah 289-294-294877 (+13); 14. Nebraska 289-298-293880 (+16); T15. Air Force Academy 300-290-295885 (+21); T15. Hawaii 288-289-308885 (+21).

K-State Individuals: T3. Joe Ida 68-69-70207 (-9); T11. Mitchell Gregson 68-70-73211 (-5); T20. Kyle Yonke 72-68-74214 (-2); T34. Robert Streb 75-71-71217 (+1); T44. Ross Geubelle 72-75-73220 (+4); *T1. Daniel Wood 71-67-76214 (-2).
*Wood competed in a separate field of individuals.