Huskers Tee-Off in 2019 at Big Red Alumni Invite
Big Red Alumni Invite
Friday, Feb. 1 – Sunday, Feb. 3
Jacksonville, Fla. – Hammock Beach, Conservatory & Ocean Course
Nebraska’s Travel Squad:
Jacksonville, Fla. - The Nebraska men's golf team is set to tee-off the 2019 season at the Big Red Alumni Invite at Hammock Beach, Conservatory & Ocean Course in Jacksonville, Fla. Eight golfers will travel this weekend. They will compete against one another and several alumni of the program in practice rounds and competition on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Nebraska’s first-year Head Coach Mark Hankins is looking forward to seeing the improvements his guys have made since the team last competed together in October.
“We’re looking forward to getting out there and competing against each other,” Hankins said. “We’ll be practicing and playing match play format so we can get used to the format. We’ll create a plan for each guy and what they’ll work on, but we’ll favor short game and do our best to acclimate to the golf course and conditions.”
During the fall, Nebraska competed in five tournaments as a team. Junior Tanner Owen and seniors Jace Guthmiller and Jackson Wendling were the only Huskers to have competed in every tournament. Daniel Pearson and Tristan Nelko competed in three tournaments each while Dylan McCabe competed twice and Patrick Clare and Sean Song each competed once.
This weekend, NU will warm up for the Big Ten Match-Play Championship, which begins on Friday, Feb. 8 when the Huskers take on Northwestern.
Huskers Set to Get Back on the Course:
Tanner Owen, who had a 76.55 stroke average in 2017-18, saw significant improvement in his game during the fall season. Owen posted a 72.60 stroke average, two top-25 individual finishes and one top-15 finish. He set a new career-low 54-hole score at the Fighting Irish Invitational in October after shooting a 210 in the three-day tournament.
“It was great going into the off-season knowing I didn’t leave as many strokes out there as I had in the past,” Owen said. “I feel really confident heading into this season and I’m just ready to get out there and play again.”
Cameron Jones will be making his first appearance of the season this weekend. The Perth, Australia native had the best performance of his career at last season’s Big Ten Championships. He led all Huskers and tied for 28th overall after firing a 219 at the three-day event. He’s looking forward to competing once again for his team.
“I feel like my mental approach is much better than it was in the fall,” Jones said. “With a new head coach, I was just worried about my scores too much and if I was impressing him. Now, I feel like I can play my game much more and I’m not putting as much pressure on myself.”
Jace Guthmiller and Jackson Wendling are the senior leaders on the team and are looking to go out on a high note to end their careers at Nebraska. Guthmiller has tallied six top-25 finishes in his career and set a career-best 54-hole score of 213 this September at the Cardinal Regional Challenge. Wendling has a pair of top-15 finishes under his belt and will be depended on to be consistent in his final season in scarlet and cream.
A freshman from Wayzata, Minn., Tristan Nelko is ready for his first spring season as a Husker in 2019. He competed in three tournaments during the fall and registered two top-75 finishes.
Coach Hankins added two new pieces to his roster this winter in Nebraska natives Mitch Klooz and Jay Cottam. Both are graduate transfers from Liberty University and Nebraska-Kearney, respectively. They’ll travel to Jacksonville this weekend to compete with their new teammates.
Klooz hails from Laurel, Neb., where he was a two-time Class C State Champion. He spent the past four years playing at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. where he was a two-time letter winner and Big South Conference Presidential Award honoree. Klooz will play with the Huskers this spring and next year as well.
Cottam was the 2015 Nebraska High School State Champion. He also won the Nebraska Golf Association Amateur Match-Play Championships in 2017. He’s a two-time all-conference selection and holds the all-time lowest stroke average in Nebraska-Kearney’s golf history. Cottam will finish out his college career at Nebraska this spring.
“Growing up in Nebraska, this is the big stage for someone like me,” Cottam said. “To be able to have the opportunity to come be a Husker is something I don’t take for granted. I’m really looking forward to the season.”
The Huskers will head back to Nebraska for a week of practice before competing in the Big Ten Match-Play on Friday, Feb. 8 and Saturday, Feb. 9 at Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast, Fla. NU will take on Northwestern on Friday to open the spring season.
Ty Capps Set to Play with the Huskers this Weekend:
Former Husker Ty Capps, who played golf at Nebraska and graduated in 2007, is one of several alumni set to play with the team this weekend. From 2008 to 2013, Capps played on U.S. mini-tours including the Adams Pro Tour and NGA Pro Golf Tour. For the 2014 season, Capps joined PGA Tour Latinoamerica.
Daniel Pearson, a sophomore from Longmont, Colo., had one top-50 finish this fall and was set to challenge for a spot in the final two spots in the starting lineup. Pearson recently suffered a recurring wrist injury and will miss the spring 2019 season. He has applied for a medical redshirt and will be back playing with the team in the fall.