Wildcats Trek To Tulsa For Big 12 Championship

Big 12 Championship
Monday-Tuesday, April 24-25, 2006
8:50 a.m. Monday - Paired with Colorado and Missouri
8:00 or 8:50 a.m. Tuesday
Southern Hills Country Club
Tulsa, Okla.
Par 71/7,016 yards
Hosted by the University of Colorado

Participating Teams (12): Baylor, Colorado, Iowa State, Kansas, KANSAS STATE, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State men’s golf team will travel to Tulsa, Okla. to participate in the 2006 Big 12 Championship, April 24-25. This year marks the 10th year of the conference and the men’s conference championship. Defending champion Oklahoma State enters the event as the leader in conference championships with four, followed by Texas with three, and Kansas and Baylor with one apiece. The Wildcats best placing in the conference championship was a fourth-place finish in 2004. K-State will tee off  Monday on hole No.1 at 8:50 and are paired with Colorado and Missouri. Second-day tee times and pairings will be determined by standings from the first day. Live stats will be available by logging onto www.golfstat.com. Results will be posted on www.k-statesports.com both Monday and Tuesday.

This is the second year the Big 12 will hold its championship at the par 71, 7,016-yard Southern Hills Country Club. The last time the Big 12 Championship was played on this course in 2003, the Wildcats carded a 305-302-320927, tying for sixth, as they advanced to the schools first regional appearance since 1993. Southern Hills has hosted many USGA as well as PGA Tour events, including the 1995 and 1996 Tour Championships and the 2007 USGA Open Championship. The course will also host the PGA Championship in August of 2001. For more information on Southern Hills, please visit www.southernhillscc.com.

BRYAN, Texas - The Kansas State men's golf team fell two spots during Sunday's final of the Aggie Invitational, to finish in a tie for eighth. After carding rounds of 302 and 305, the Wildcats shot a 309 to finish at 52-over par 916. Oklahoma was one shot ahead of the Wildcats going into the final hole, but an 18th-hole bogey by Oklahoma dropped the Sooners into a tie with the Wildcats. Senior Tyler Cummins finished as the top Wildcat, despite carding a 7-over par 79 during the final round. Cummins tied for 26th at 12-over par 228. Ben Kern finished tied for 29th following a 13-over par 229 performance.

Ben Kern pieced together second-consecutive round of 6-under par 65 on April 9th to capture K-State's first outright individual title since 2003 at the ASU Thunderbird Invitational. Kern fired an astonishing three-round total of 14-under par 199 on the par 71, 7,017-yard ASU Karsten Course, the same course where he shot a 15-over par 228 to tie for 63rd just one year ago. The senior is the first Wildcat to win a tournament outright since Matt Van Cleave won the Purina Classic in October of 2003. Kern carded three-consecutive sub-70 rounds on the weekend, finishing with a score of 69-65-65-199 (-14), en route to setting the school's lowest all-time 54-hole score. Van Cleave previously held the record with a three-round total of 202 at the Purina Classic. The accolades don't end there for Kern as he also set the ASU Thunderbird Invitational record for low score, becoming the first player in the 34-year history of the tournament to shoot under 200, something both Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods couldn't accomplish during their times at Arizona State and Stanford, respectively. Mickelson's best score was a 204 when he won the tournament in 1991, and Woods could only muster a 220 in 1995 version of the Thunderbird Invitational.
Following a school- and tournament-record 14-under par 199 in a victory at the ASU Thunderbird Invitational, K-State senior Ben Kern earned Men's Collegiate Player of the Week honors from both Golfweek and Golfworld. With his three-round total of 199, Kern set the ASU Thunderbird Invitational record, becoming the first player in the tournament's 34-year history to finish below 200. Furthermore, Kern made a 74-spot jump in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, jumping from 152nd before to 78th the following week.
Outside of last week’s Aggie Invitational, K-State is playing some of its best golf down the home stretch of the season. K-State placed second at the Stevinson Ranch Invitational, March 27-28, with a two-round total of 21-over par 597. Heavy rain and lightening rolled in shortly before noon on the Pacific coast causing the cancellation of the third round and making the tournament a 36-hole event. Colorado was awarded the team championship after their 20-over par 596 score on the first day. The Wildcats, who started the final round one stroke back of the leader, were 15-over par with the easiest three holes of the course left. At that point, Colorado was 27-over, but the Buffaloes were awarded the team championship since the final round scores did not count. K-State then recorded one of its lowest 54-hole scores in school history as they shot a 17-under 835 in a tie for third at the ASU Thunderbird Invitational. Although the Wildcats carded a 916 last week, every team in the field, except host school Texas A&M shot at least one round of 300 or worse.
Although the Big 12 has been known to be a powerhouse for football and basketball, Big 12 Men’s Golf has also been a force this season. Five Big 12 teams rank in the top-25 of the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, which ties the conference with the ACC for most teams in the top-25. However, four of five Big 12 schools are ranked in the top-15, which is the most by any conference. Oklahoma State leads the conference, ranking second behind No. 1 Georgia. K-State is a respectable 69th, making an 11-spot jump after its third-place tie at the ASU Thunderbird Invitational. On the year, the Wildcats are 9-8-2 (.421) against Big 12 schools. 
True-freshmen starters have been somewhat of a rarity during the Tim Norris era. Only five true freshmen have participated in at least 75-percent of the team’s events during the season under Norris’ watch. Robert Streb, who has participated in every event this season, and Joe Kinney have joined that list this season. However, both golfers are not only participating in those events, but also making them count. Streb ranks No. 1 on the list in terms of stroke average at 73.94, over a 1.25 shots ahead of Josh Person’s run during the 2002-03 season. Kinney currently ranks third on the list at 75.77 shots-per-round. Furthermore, Streb tied for second with Tyler Cummins in percentage of rounds counted at 89.06 percent. Ben Kern leads the team in that department boasting a 91.38 percent of counted rounds.
For the fourth-consecutive tournament and the seventh time this year, the Cats will use the starting lineup of seniors Tyler Cummins and Ben Kern, sophomore Kyle Yonke, and freshmen Joe Kinney and Robert Streb. Of these five guys, only Cummins and Kern have participated in the Big 12 Championships. However, the five have also accounted for the top three 54-hole team scores vs. par. Two weeks ago at the ASU Thunderbird Invitational, they carded the second-lowest 54-hole score in school history with a combined 17-under par 835. These five players also hold K-State’s top four places, finishing second at the Steveinson Ranch Invitational, third last weekend at the ASU Thunderbird Invitational, and fourth at both the Wolverine Intercollegiate and Memphis Intercollegiate.

K-State's Big 12 Championship Lineup
Name         Year  Hometown      Rds.  Avg.

Ben Kern       Sr.   Tucson, Ariz.   29    71.93
Tyler Cummins  Sr.   Olathe, Kan.    32    73.97
Robert Streb   Fr.   Edmond, Okla.   32    73.94
Joe Kinney     Fr.   Antioch, Ill.   26    75.77
Kyle Yonke     So.   Lubbock, Texas  26    75.08