K-State Starts Season Hosting the Wildcat Invitational – News Radio KMAN

K-State Starts Season Hosting the Wildcat Invitational – News Radio KMAN

MANHATTAN, Kan. (Kansas State Athletics) – Coming off one of the most prolific seasons in school history, the Kansas State men’s golf team is back in action and ready to host the 2022 Wildcat Invitational on Monday and Tuesday at the prestigious par-72, 7,525-yard Colbert Hills Golf Club in Manhattan.
Head coach Grant Robbins enters his ninth season at K-State after leading the Wildcats to an NCAA Regional appearance last spring, their first since 2009.
Expectations surrounding this year’s squad are high as the Wildcats return every major contributor from a team that captured six top-10 finishes and accumulated the best stroke average in school history at 288.24.
With the wealth of collegiate experience amongst the team, the confidence gained from the postseason run, and the additions of some exciting newcomers, K-State is looking to take the program to new heights in 2022-23.
“We are excited to start the year, especially at home,” said Robbins. “We have had an extremely competitive qualifier, and I know the guys are looking forward to getting the season started.”
For the season opener, Robbins will send out a lineup comprised of Laurenz SchiergenLuke O’NeillWill HopkinsCooper Schultz, and grad-transfer Grayson Blunt.
Schiergen, now a sophomore, was a breakout star in his debut freshman season for the Wildcats. Hailing from Cologne, Germany, he joined the team at semester in 2022 and had a terrific spring, appearing in the scoring lineup in all seven events. Schiergen had two top-10 finishes, including a fourth-place finish at the Mossy Oak Invitational. He had a 72.76 stroke average and racked up 10 rounds even or under par.
Schiergen’s play and improvement through the offseason has earned him the No. 1 spot in the lineup.
The Wildcats will continue to lean on the leadership from Hopkins, a senior who elected to return for a fifth season. The decision was a huge boost for the team as the veteran has competed in 32 career tournaments, collecting many high finishes and low rounds over his time at K-State. Last year he led the team with 17 rounds even or under par and finished in the top-20 five times.
O’Neill, a junior, had the biggest individual accomplishment of any Wildcat last season when he shared the title at the Colleton River Collegiate. He will look to take another jump in year three and is in line to be a consistent weapon for K-State with proven low-scoring ability.
Another Wildcat entering year three in the program as a redshirt sophomore is Schultz. He appeared in eight events, with his season highlighted by a seventh-place finish at the Old Town Collegiate. It was an eventful summer for the Andover, Kansas native as he earned a berth to the US Amateur for the second straight year.
The lone newcomer in the scoring lineup is Blunt, who comes to Manhattan as a graduate transfer from Sam Houston State. This past season for the Berkats saw Blunt record a 73.14 stroke average, claim three top-10 finishes, and help Sam Houston State advance to the 2022 NCAA Championship at the Grayhawk Golf Club.
A unique note on Blunt is his best performance came at Colbert Hills in last year’s Wildcat Invitational where he shot an even-par 216 en route to a sixth-place finish.
There are also three individuals competing for K-State this week in Tim TillmannsNicklaus Mason, and Ben Stoller.
Tillmanns, a senior, led the team in stroke average last season at 72.52 and tallied seven finishes in the top-20. At the NCAA Norman Regional last spring, Tillmanns finished in 14th place at 2-under par 214, which was the highest finish by a Wildcat in an NCAA Regional since Robert Streb finished 12th at the NCAA Central Regional in 2006. The performance included a 5-under par 67 second round that was the lowest by a Wildcat in their NCAA postseason history.
Mason is coming off a freshman season where he appeared in 10 events and claimed four top-20 finishes. The Shawnee, Kansas native also had a strong postseason performance, placing 32nd at the NCAA Norman Regional.
Stoller, from Owasso, Oklahoma is the lone freshman for K-State and was a standout on the amatuer circuit. It will be a great opportunity for him to begin his career on the Wildcats’ home course.
K-State is hosting a 15-team field as Bradley, Creighton, Drake, Dodge City CC, Houston Baptist, Grand Canyon, Kansas City, Nebraska-Omaha, North Dakota State, Oakland, Southern Illinois, Texas A&M Commerce, UT Martin, and Western Illinois join the Wildcats to begin the season.
This is the second year in a row the Cats are hosting the event and opening the season at Colbert Hills. Last year saw K-State come up just short with a runner-up finish.
The opportunity to get the 2022-23 campaign off to a good start at home is not one Robbins is taking lightly.
“Colbert Hills is in tremendous shape, and with the predicted north wind it can be especially challenging,” said Robbins. “There’s definitely a different kind of pressure playing at home. The important thing for us is to stay disciplined in our decision making, not take anything for granted and just go out there and play our game.”
Play will begin both days with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. The first two rounds will be played on Monday with the final round concluding the event on Tuesday.
The event is free for fans to attend, but live scoring can also be found throughout all 54-holes on Golfstat.com.

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