Huskers Take Fourth at Big Ten Match Play Championships
Palm Coast, Fla. – The Nebraska men’s golf team concluded the Big Ten Match Play Championships on Saturday afternoon by finishing in fourth place out of the 14 teams. After going 2-0 on Friday, the Huskers fell in the semifinals and third place match Saturday to Maryland (4-2) and Illinois (5-1), respectively.
Coming into the weekend, the Huskers were ranked as the tournament’s No. 14 seed. After finishing in the top four at the Big Ten Match Play Championships for the first time since the Huskers joined the conference, it’s safe to say the Huskers turned some heads this weekend in Florida with their performance. Previously, NU had never finished better than 9th at the Big Ten Match Play Championships.
Coach Mark Hankins talked about his team’s preparation level and performance this weekend.
“This performance is a direct result of our improvement over the fall and off-season,” Hankins said. “We planned and prepared as well as anyone in the field. Our off-season strength and conditioning, our practice the past two weeks, and our mental commitment all led to a peak performance in match one and match two and nearly earned us a spot in the championship match today. I’m proud of our guys for buying in and taking some major steps forward this week.”
The day started off with NU’s semifinal matchup against Maryland. In a back and forth battle, the Terrapins eventually prevailed, winning four matches while the Huskers took two.
Jay Cottam and Mitch Klooz emerged as victors for the Huskers at the No. 5 and No. 6 spots in the lineup, respectively. Klooz defeated Maryland’s Chris Lane (3&2), while Cottam finished one up on the Terrapins’ Dillon Brown. With the win, Cottam moved to 3-0 on the weekend in his first tournament competing as a Husker. Klooz would finish 2-2 in his first tournament playing for the Big Red.
Senior Jace Guthmiller went back and forth at the No. 2 spot with Maryland’s Peter Knade, but eventually lost out by just one hole. With a win, NU would have had the tiebreaker to advance to the Big Ten Match Play Championships.
In the afternoon third-place match, NU fell to the No. 1 seed Illinois Fighting Illini, 5-1. Cameron Jones, a junior from Perth, Australia, made his season debut for the Huskers and played excellent golf, defeating Illinois’ Brendan O’Reilly (3&2) handily.
Despite falling in the final two matches on Sunday, the Huskers leave the weekend feeling great about their fourth-place finish as they get back to work for the rest of their season.
Parkville, Mo., native Tanner Owen played one of the best rounds of his career at the No. 1 spot against Purdue yesterday in the quarterfinals, defeating Timmy Hildebrand (6&4) in convincing fashion. Because the overall score was tied at three, Owen’s overall margin of victory in the match was the reason his team moved on to the semifinals.
“I just felt really good coming into the round,” Owen said. “I found something on the range that I really liked, birdied my first few holes and just blew him out. Match play is unique because you just try to win by as much as you can. You don’t want to give up any shots because of the tiebreakers, and that ended up helping our team big time."
Hebron, Neb., native Jay Cottam had a big hand in his team’s performance this weekend. The Nebraska-Kearney transfer went 3-1 in four matches this weekend.
“It’s a big confidence booster knowing you can play with some of the best guys in the country,” Cottam said. “I shook off some nerves initially but I thought I putted pretty well and that was a big area of focus for me coming into the season. I’m excited to build off this and prepare for the rest of our season.”
Big Ten Network Coverage:
2019 Big Ten Match Play Championships airs: March 2, 10:30 a.m. CT.
The Huskers travel to San Diego, Calif., for the Challenge at the Farms on March 2.
How to Follow Along:
Make sure to follow along on Twitter @HuskersGolf for updates throughout the season.
Semifinals vs. Maryland: (4-2 Maryland)
Tim Colanta (MD) 3&3 over Tanner Owen (NEB)
Peter Knade (MD) 1 up over Jace Guthmiller (NEB)
Christian Park (MD) 2&1 over Jackson Wendling (NEB)
Evan Santa (MD) 3&1 over Dylan McCabe (NEB)
Jay Cottam (NEB) 1 up over Dillon Brown (MD)
Mitch Klooz (NEB) 6&5 over Chris Lane (MD)
3rd Place vs. Illinois: (5-1 Illinois)
Michael Feagles (ILL) 3&2 over Tanner Owen (NEB)
Giovanni Tadliotto (ILL) 2&1 over Jace Guthmiller (NEB)
Bryan Baumgarten (ILL) 2&1 over Jackson Wendling (NEB)
Cameron Jones (NEB) 3&2 over Brandon O’Reilly (ILL)
Adr Dumont de Chassa (ILL) 4&3 over Jay Cottam (NEB)
Tommy Kuhl (ILL) 3&2 over Mitch Klooz (NEB)
Individual Match Play Records:
Cameron Jones: 1-0
Jay Cottam: 3-1
Tanner Owen: 2-2
Mitch Klooz: 2-2
Jace Guthmiller: 1-3
Dylan McCabe: 1-2
Jackson Wendling: 0-4
Big Ten Match Play Final Standings:
- Ohio State
- Michigan State
- Penn State