After being on top of the leaderboard for much of the tournament, Kansas senior Ben Welle will come back to Lawrence with an extra piece of hardware, as he finished in first place at the Ram Masters Invitational. Tuesday's victory marks the first time in Welle's career the Moorehead, Minnesota native has won a tournament in a Kansas uniform.
Throughout the two-day event, Welle carded rounds of 67-67-72--206 (-4), making him the only player of the 88 participants to record two rounds below 70 on the first day. He consistently hit greens at necessary times, which in turn, gave him the opportunity to knock down a tournament-leading 14 birdies.
"(It) feels really good to win my first event," Welle said after the victory. "This was one of my goals for this year and accomplishing it feels incredible. It is not only a big win for me, but for my school as well. (I'm) really proud to represent Kansas here in Fort Collins."
For the second time in as many years, Kansas finished in second place at the Ram Masters Invitational, which also marks back-to-back top-five finishes to begin the 2015-16 season. The Jayhawks recorded rounds of 280-281-288--849 (+9), falling short to host-Colorado State, which shot a three-round 839 (-1) on its home course. Fresno State finished third at 862 (+22), 13 strokes behind KU.
"We needed a good day from top to bottom and unfortunately had a few guys that played poorly," KU head coach Jamie Bermel said. "I am proud of the seniors as they both played well, with Ben getting his first individual victory at KU."
Welle's fellow senior classmate, Connor Peck, placed tied for fourth. Using his momentum from last week's top-15 finish, Peck improved his stroke score every round at the Ram Masters, with rounds of 73-70-67--210 (E). His three-under, 67, Tuesday tied Welle as the lowest recorded rounds throughout the entire event.
Much like yesterday's opening rounds, junior Chase Hanna and freshman Charlie Hillier, practically had the same day today. The two teammates finished tied for 25th and recorded a 77 (+7) in round three, making it the third consecutive round they have shared the same score.
Rounding off the Jayhawks were sophomore Daniel Hudson and freshman Drake Hull, who placed 38th and 31st, respectively. Hudson finished the event with a scores of 73-78-72--228 (+13). His 72, two-over this afternoon moved him up nine spots on the overall and tied his season-best round from last week. Hull completed the event shooting 76-70-75--221 (+11), in his first collegiate tournament.
"We need to get better consistency from our younger guys but hopefully everyone learned from today and next week they will respond better," Bermel said.
Up next: Kansas will travel to Madison, Wisconsin and participate in the Badger Invitational, where the Jayhawks finished 8th. The three-day event is set to take place from September 27-29.
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