Wildcats Lose Lead, Finish Second at Pacific Invite

STOCKTON, Calif. A school-record team score and six-stroke lead wasn’t enough to hold off a charge from the top-ranked team in the country as Kansas State finished in second place at the Pacific Invitational on Wednesday.

The Wildcats continued their assault on the team record book by notching the lowest 54-hole score in school history but K-State was unable to hold off No. 1-ranked Charlotte on the final three holes. Charlotte took the tournament title at Brookside Country Club and continued its unbeaten run through the fall with a score of 278-275-271824 (-40). K-State finished two strokes back at 273-274-279826 (-38).

K-State tallied two top-5 rounds in school history in the opening rounds and Joe Ida scored the lowest round ever by a Wildcat on a par-72 on Tuesday, helping the Wildcats beat the team 54-hole low score of 830 set at the 2003 Purina Classic.

The Wildcats went head-to-head with Charlotte on Wednesday and had a two stroke lead with two golfers yet to finish. Charlotte’s Stefan Wiedergruen birdied the last three holes and Ida bogeyed just his second hole of the entire tournament and the 49ers won the tournament.

“It’s awfully hard to be disappointed with 38 under par,” K-State head coach Tim Norris said. “(Charlotte) made a great run there at the end. We made a couple bogeys and it doesn’t take long to flip flop. They’re ranked where they are because they’re good and we’re just not quite there yet.

“I took (our guys) off to the side of the green and told them we need to take this as a positive experience. We didn’t let up, but you have to go until the end. If it’s your day it’s your day. We had two of them but we didn’t have a third. We just kind of got outclassed there by a team that went through the whole fall without losing a stroke play event.”

Ida finished the day with a 3-under 69 and tied with teammate Robert Streb for third at 13-under 203 for the tournament. The three day total put both golfers into third place for the lowest individual 54-hole score in K-State history.

Streb improved steadily throughout the event and saved his best for the last round. After narrowly missing a bogey-free round on Tuesday with a miss on the back nine, Streb carded six birdies and recorded a 6-under 66. That score put Streb one stroke behind Ida for the top individual score on a par-72 course and is the fifth lowest score in school history.

Ida and Streb were the only two Wildcats under par in the final round after K-State had all four counting scores under par on Monday and Tuesday. Mitchell Gregson was even par and finished tied for 17th at 68-70-72210 (-6). Ross Guebelle also scored par on Wednesday and notched his first contributing round of the tournament. He slid up two spots to finish tied for 52nd at 73-74-72219 (+3).

Kyle Smell finished in the top-25 but fell off the pace in the third round. Smell shot a 2-over 74 and finished the tournament tied for 22nd with a three round total of 4-under 212.

Wednesday’s second-place finish matches the Wildcats’ high for the fall and is the fourth time K-State has finished in the top-5. The Wildcats are done competing until the spring season which opens March 3, 2008, at the Braveheart Classic in Beaumont, Calif.