Kansas State University

Jeremy Gandon is Kansas State's first individual conference golf champion since 1951

Kansas State golfer Jeremy Gandon celebrates his first-place finish at the Big 12 men's golf tournament. (Courtesy Photo: K-State athletics)
Kansas State golfer Jeremy Gandon celebrates his first-place finish at the Big 12 men's golf tournament. (Courtesy Photo: K-State athletics)

Jeremy Gandon accomplished something Wednesday that hasn't been done by another Kansas State golfer since 1951.

He won an individual conference championship.

Gandon, a junior from Charpey, France, tied for first at the Big 12 men's golf tournament by shooting rounds of 71, 69, 71 and 72 for a 3-over total of 283 at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla. He shared medalist honors with Oklahoma's Grant Hirschman, Oklahoma State's Kristoffer Ventura and Texas' Doug Ghim.

"I played great all week," Gandon said by phone afterward. "Obviously, the field is very strong here and this is the biggest tournament I have played in this year. To win feels really good."

Graham Hunt was K-State's last conference medalist, winning the Big Seven Championship in 1951.

Ending a 67-year streak without a conference champion made his drive home with the K-State golf team more enjoyable than usual.

"That's a long time," he said.

“I am very proud of Jeremy,” added K-State coach Grant Robbins. “To claim a share of the individual title in a conference like the Big 12 is a huge accomplishment. He played some exceptional golf all week.”

Gandon started the day 1 shot back of Hirschman, but he didn't put any pressure on himself to shoot a low number and catch him. Weather conditions were poor, so Gandon aimed mostly for pars. The strategy led to a closing round of 72, which was good enough for first with Hirschman shooting a 73.

"I didn't do anything exceptional," Gandon said. "I just played very solid all four days. My short game was pretty good and gave me some good opportunities."

Oklahoma won the team championship with a collective score of 19-over 1,139. K-State finished 10th at 1,190 (+70).

The victory capped a productive few weeks for Gandon.

After a slow start to the season, he found a rhythm late and finished tied for ninth at the Missouri Tiger Invitational and then won the Hawkeye Invitational by 4 strokes for his first trophy since his freshman year.

"Something changed in my mind at the Missouri tournament that helped me play better," Gandon said. "I was struggling before that, but I have played great the last three tournaments. Hopefully, I can keep it rolling."

This is the type of success Robbins envisioned for Gandon when he recruited him out of France three years ago.

"I didn’t know anything about the Big 12 or college sports when I came here," Gandon said, "but right now I realize it’s a great opportunity to be competing in the Big 12. I'm very grateful to practice every day with Kansas State and be in this position. It's great."