MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – The Wildcats are off to their best start on the golf course in over a decade.

K-State won its first two tournaments of the season, which hasn’t been done since 2009.

“I think in years gone by, we’ve kind of struggled in the fall, really,” senior Will Hopkins said. “We’ve had a lot of work to do in the spring.”

It’s a huge improvement from just last year. K-State finished ninth in the NCAA tournament regional, missing the cut for the championship.

“That’s the first time this program has made it to the postseason in quite a bit,” head coach Grant Robbins said. “I think having that experience, going to regionals, yeah, we didn’t perform as well as we would’ve liked at regionals, but it was new to them. Having that experience and knowing that there wasn’t a huge difference between the top teams and us.”

All five golfers from that regional are back, including Hopkins, a fifth-year senior.

“I think experience is something that is kind of invaluable,” Hopkins said. “It just makes things a lot easier when you go on the road, just knowing that you have a lot of past tournaments to lean on.”

Tim Tillmans finished the regional two under par. He also led K-State down the stretch in the past tournament, shooting two under again.

“I think I’m clutch, but… I’m in the process right now,” he said. “I’m learning to be clutch. That’s why I think I played good. I was in good form.”

Cooper Schultz started the year with an individual title at the Wildcat Invitational. Then, he sank a two-foot par putt to seal the victory in North Carolina.

“The putt on the first [hole] was just as important as the putt on [hole] 18,” Schultz said. “I’ve been in those situations before where I needed to make it. I just needed a two-putt, so it wasn’t that difficult. We practice those every day.”

Improving technique is not the only thing contributing to the team’s success.

“All of us, collectively, are putting in the work, maybe that we didn’t as much last year,” Schultz said. “We didn’t have as much confidence as we have. I think that’s really been the key.”

Robbins was right. Now, the team sees its full potential.

“It’s not easy to make it to the Nationals, but I think it’s a good goal for us,” Tillmans said. “It’s something we can definitely achieve, and we’ve just got to work hard for it.”

K-State’s next tournament is Oct. 10-11 at the Oregon State Invitational.