Philadelphia, Pa. –(NU Athletics April 28)– The Nebraska men’s golf team made history Sunday, placing fifth out of 14 teams at the 2019 Big Ten Championships. NU’s previous best finish at Big Ten’s was ninth, which happened in 2013. First-year Head Coach Mark Hankins and his team also finished fourth at the Big Ten Match Play Championships in February, another school record.
The Huskers saved their best for last, firing a 286 (+6) for its best round of the tournament by nine strokes in the final round. NU went 295-305 in the first two rounds. The final round team-score of 286 ties the Huskers third best 18-hole score of the season.
“Preparation, discipline and execution was our goal the entire year,” Coach Hankins said. “These guys put three rounds together as a team and put an exclamation on it today with a solid final round under pressure. I’m very proud of our entire team for trusting the process and allowing a top five finish to happen this week. These guys deserve a lot of credit for putting their heads gown and grinding it out on a tough golf course all weekend. Go Big Red.”
Illinois took first place with a three-round total of 868 (+28). Purdue finished second, Michigan State took third and Michigan placed fourth, just one shot ahead of the Huskers. Nebraska’s three round total of 886 (+46) placed them fifth after starting the day in sixth.
NU junior Tanner Owen and senior Jay Cottam paced the Huskers for the championship. Owen fired a 72 (+2) today and Cottam carded a 71 (+1) for a 221 (+11) total and a tie for 16th overall. The upperclassman duo combined for six birdies today and finished the tournament just two strokes out of the top 10. They’re also the first two Huskers ever to finish in the top 16 individually at the Big Ten Championships.
“We knew we had what it took to have a finish like we did today,” Owen said. “Every shot matters, so we just had to stay the course and do our best, especially because the fourth through eighth place teams were separated by only a couple strokes.”
Cottam commented on what it means to finish the season out on a positive note.
“Even finishing as high as we did, we left plenty of shots out there,” Cottam said. “Knowing I can compete with these guys is pretty humbling and gives me a lot of confidence moving forward.”
Senior Jackson Wendling had the best day of his Big Ten Championship weekend, posting a 71 (+1) after firing 76’s (+6) on each of the first two days. Wendling had three birdies and an eagle today as he worked his way into the top 25, finishing tied for 24th. The Effingham, Ill, native picked a great time for his second top-25 finish of the season.
“I wanted to keep it easy on myself and not put myself in a hole,” Wendling said. “I think I did a good job of that. I made a couple birdies here and there and had an eagle on the back nine. I was good to keep myself in play all day and to have chances for birdies.”
Redshirt junior and Laurel, Neb., native, Mitch Klooz carded a 75 (+5) on his way to a tie for 31st. Jace Guthmiller, a senior from Yankton, S.D., had his best day of the tournament as he shot a 72 (+2) to move into the top 50. He finished his collegiate career by carding birdies on his final two holes. Guthmiller tied for 48thoverall.
Guthmiller talked about playing in his final tournament as a Husker and what he’s excited to see from the program moving forward.
“I’m pretty excited with how we ended our season today,” Guthmiller said. “Coach Hankins is a great coach and he definitely helped a lot with discipline and staying focused at all times. The little things matter so much in golf, and we just tried to improve every day.”
As a team, the Huskers carded 14 birdies and one eagle today. Cottam, Guthmiller, Owen and Wendling each had three birdies while Klooz had two.
Big Ten Championships Final Standings:
1. #27 Illinois: 287-303-278 = 868 (+28)
2. Purdue: 282-309-282 = 873 (+33)
3. Michigan State: 291-304-288 = 883 (+43)
4. Michigan: 299-296-290 = 885 (+45)
5. Nebraska: 295-305-286 = 886 (+46)
6. Rutgers: 291-316-280 = 887 (+47)
T7. Indiana: 293-312-285 = 890 (+50)
T7. #45 Ohio State: 296-313-281 = 890 (+50)
9. Minnesota: 287-303-304 = 894 (+54)
10. Penn State: 294-317-287 = 898 (+58)
11. #38 Iowa: 293-314-292 = 899 (+59)
12. Maryland 301-307-293 = 901 (+61)
13. #47 Northwestern: 295-309-298 = 902 (+62)
14. Wisconsin: 302-318-297 = 917 (+77)
Husker History at Big Ten’s:
2012: 12th (1,251)
2013: 9th (1,214)
2014: 11th (1,224)
2015: 13th (1,238)
2016: 13th (918)
2017: 12th (890)
2018: 11th (887)
2019: 5th (886)
-NU’s fifth-place finish marks the Huskers best mark in a conference championship tournament since 1999 when the Huskers finished second at the Big 12 Championships.
-Team’s first finish in the top 10 at Big Ten’s in the past six seasons.
-Jay Cottam and Tanner Owen both tied for 16th, which sets a school record for best individual finish at the Big Ten Championships.
-Matt Record was the only other Husker to record a top-20 finish at the Big Ten Championships when he finished tied for 20th in 2014.
-The Huskers tied their third-best score for a round today after shooting a 286 (+6). They also shot a 286 at the first round of the Cardinal Regional Challenge back on Sept. 14.
Adrien Dumont de Chassart, Illinois
Charlie Pilon, Michigan
Donnie Trosper, Michigan State
Angus Flanagan, Minnesota
Christopher Gotterup, Rutgers