Cats Take Early-Season Success To Michigan

Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 16-17
    Saturday: 8:30 a.m. - Shotgun Start
    Sunday: 8:30 a.m. - Shotgun Start
U-M Golf Course
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Par 71 / 6,704 yards
Hosted by the University of Michigan
Akron, Ball State, Eastern Michigan, Furman, Iowa, KANSAS STATE, Miami (OH), Michigan, Missouri, Nothern Illinois, Oregon State, Penn State, Western Illinois, Wisconsin

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Following a second-place tie at last weekend’s Central Region Preview, the Kansas State men’s golf team will make a second-consecutve trip to the Great Lakes area as they head to Ann Arbor, Mich., to compete in the Wolverine Intercollegiate. A shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. (EDT) will begin play both days, with 36 holes being played Saturday and the final 18 holes on Sunday. Live statistics for the Wolverine Intercollegiate will not be available. Results will be posted on as soon as they become available at the end of each day’s play.

Located adjacent to the campus of the University of Michigan, The U-M Golf Course held its first collegiate golf event in 1931 as Michigan defeated Ohio State 15-3 in a match-play event. The par 71, 6,704-yard course was designed by Alister MacKenzie, the same designer of the home of The Masters, Augusta National. A multi-million dollar renovation was completed in 1994 to update the course and the clubhouse.

Five of the 13 teams K-State will face this weekend were part of the field at the Central Region Preivew a week ago, with the Wildcats going 5-0 against those teams (Akron, Ball State, Michigan, Missouri and Northern Illinois). The Wildcats will be facing nine teams that are returning from last year’s Wolverine Intercollegiate. With a fourth-place finish at the event last year, the Cats complied aa 8-1 record against those schools, with their only loss coming against first-place squad Michigan.

K-State posted a fourth-place finish at the 2005 Wolverine Intercollegiate, carding a score of even-par 852 (287-279-286). Host school Michigan won the tournament, firing a 13-under 839. Ben Kern led the Wildcats, as he tied for eighth after a 4-under par 209 performance.  Robert Streb carded a 5-over par 218 and Kyle Yonke shot an 8-over par 221.

The Wildcats recorded their best season-opening finish since 2003 with a second-place tie at the season opening Central Region Preview. K-State finished second at the 2003 Badger Invitational, carding a two-round score of 12-over par 588. That sqaud followed their opening performance up with another second-place finish at the Inverness Intercollegiate following a 44-over par 896 performance. During the fall of 2003, the Wildcats placed in the top five in every tournament, with their worst finish coming at the Duke Golf Classic when they finished fifth of 15 teams.

With half of this year’s 10-man squad represented by true freshmen, the 2006-07 Wildcats will be young this season. That youth was put to test last weekend, with great results. The team tied for second behind freshman Mitchell Gregson’s 9-over par 225 performance, good enough for a sixth-place tie. For the second consecutive week, the youth will be part of the lineup yet again. Gregson, the No. 2 golfer last weekend, qualified as the No. 1 golfer for only his second-career tournament. Gregson was a late signee from Waterloo, Ill., as he originally signed with Saint Louis University, which eventrually dropped its men’s golf program. He signed with Kansas State in April. Jason Schulte, a graduate of Rockhurst High School in Kansas City, came out of the gate fast by carding a 2-over par 73 in the first round. However, he finished tied for 47th, and will be competing as an individual this weekend. Joe Ida rounds out the Wildcat rookie competitors this weekend. After a 22-over par showing last weekend, the Ft. Scott, Kan., product was bumped up to the No. 4 hole for this weekend’s tournament.

The 2005-06 season marked the fourth-straight year the Wildcats earned a berth into the NCAA Central Regional. K-State might have been lucky to make it to the postseason after a tie for 10th at the Big 12 Championship, but finished a respectable 18th at the regional, four spots ahead of its pre-tournament seed of 22nd. Kansas State lost three golfers from last season’s squad to graduation. However, none might have been as big as the departure of K-State's all-time leader in career stroke average, Ben Kern. In four years as a Wildcat (2003-06), Kern complied a 73.77 stroke average, just edging out Matt Van Cleave by 0.19 strokes-per-round. Kern also carded the best 54-hole score in school history, when he fired a 14-under par 199 to win the ASU Thunderbird Invitational, April 8-9, 2006. For his efforts a year ago, which included a team-low 72.74 season stroke average, Kern was named to PING's All-Central Regional team. K-State also lost the services of Tyler Cummins, a two-year letterwinner. Cummins finished the season third on the team in stroke average at 74.53. His best finish of the season came at the Memphis Intercollegiate, where he placed tied for eighth.

Although K-State lost its all-time career leader in stroke average, the Wildcats might have one of the most promising young golfers in collegiate golf in sophomore Robert Streb. As a freshman, Streb placed second on the team in stroke average at 73.83 strokes per round, the best stroke average by a freshman in the Tim Norris era. He also became only the fourth golfer and first freshman in K-State history to advanced to the NCAA Championship. The Edmond, Okla., product, moved on to nationals on the heels of a tie for 12th at the NCAA Central Regional. He was the top individual not on an advancing team. Kyle Yonke returns as the Wildcats’ most experienced golfer. A junior from Lubbock, Texas, Yonke competed in 11 of the team’s 13 events last season, boasting a 75.25 stroke average. The Wildcats also sport a five-man recruiting class that have made a name for themselves on the high school level. All five guys finished in the top-five of their respective state tournaments last spring, with Fort Scott, Kan., product Joe Ida leading the way after claiming the Kansas Class 4A State Championship. Two more Kansas natives, Ross Geuebelle and Jason Schulte, had successful summers on the junior circuit as Geubelle finished seventh at the national Big I Junior Classic in Odessa, Texas, and Schulte took home first-place honors at the Kansas Junior Amateur in July. Mitchell Gregson, who will see his first tournament action as a collegiate golfer this weekend, also came to K-State with an impressive resume. The Waterloo, Ill., native, was an all-conference selection all four years of high school, and completed his senior season with a 72.00 stroke average. Gregson placed first in the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) regionals and sectionals, carding a 69 and a 71, respectively. He also broke an IHSA Class AA record, carding a 71-70141 (-3) during the state tournament. He made a birdie putt on the last hole to force a playoff in that tournament, but lost in a four-hole playoff.

Robert Streb, who in May became only the fourth individual in K-State history to advance to the NCAA Championship, fired an 8-under par 64 on Aug. 23 to set the new course record at Colbert Hills. The previous record was a 5-under par 67 held by ex-Wildcat golfers Matt Williams and Bryan Milberger. Streb, playing from the Black and Blue tees which stretch 7,525 yards, sunk seven birdies and an eagle on the day, with his lone bogey coming with a three putt on No. 5.

K-State's Wolverine Intercollegiate Lineup
NAME             YR-EXP  HOMETOWN            RDS.   AVG.
Mitchell Gregson Fr.-HS  Waterloo, Ill.       3    75.00
Robert Streb     So.-1L  Edmond, Okla.        3    77.00
Kyle Yonke       Jr.-2L  Lubbock, Texas       3    77.33
Joe Ida          Fr.-HS  Ft. Scott, Kan.      3    79.33
Joe Kinney       So.-1L  Antioch, Ill.        --     --
Jason Schulte*   Fr.-HS  Mission Hills, Kan.  3    80.00

* Denotes competing as an individual