Saturday, August 11, 2007

Grove tickled to take over men’s golf reins


Asked for his emotions upon replacing his mentor as Kansas University men's head golf coach, Kit Grove was at a loss for words.

"I can't even describe it," he said.

Grove, a former KU assistant, takes over for Ross Randall, whom he played under from 1995 to 1997. Because he bases much of his teaching from Randall, Grove does not plan on making strong changes to the golf program.

The new head coach, though, will emphasize the short game, more structure and a disciplined strategy to his players. He wants his golfers to strive for the smart shot rather than the risky, high-rewards play.

"We're kind of in the age of the ESPN highlight reel, and we've got everybody trying to hit the career shot," Grove said. "We're trying to get them to change their thinking."

Another task for Grove will involve replacing Gary Woodland, who notched All Big-12 honors during his junior and senior years.

The lone senior, Joey Mundy, will try to compensate for that loss and guide a young team. Known for his strong driving ability, he tied for 17th at the Western Intercollegiate last year.

Other notable returners include junior Walt Koelbel, who scored a 69 during the last round of the Big 12 championships, and sophomore Patrick Roth, who finished third on the team in scoring average and posted a team-best average of 70 at the Hawaii-Hilo Invitational.

On the women's side, the Jayhawks will have to become accustomed to life without Amanda Costner, who became the first KU women's golfer to win an individual title at the Big 12 tournament.

Coach Erin O'Neil will lean on three freshmen, including two international prospects. In addition to Jennifer Clark, a Kansas City Piper graduate, Meghna Bal hails from New Delhi, India, and Grace Thiry comes from Victoria, Australia.

Senior Annie Giangrosso will serve as a steadying presence to that freshmen class.


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