Honoring one of KU's finest coaches, 31 golfers competed at the second annual Midwest PGA Ross Randall Shootout at Twin Oaks Golf Complex Monday.
Kansas men's golf coach for 28 years, Randall died in April 2017, and the inaugural Ross Randall Shootout took place the following June, also at Twin Oaks. Randall's legacy to the KU program and the golf community, both locally and nationally, is renowned.
"I'm pretty emotional about (hosting) this," Twin Oaks owner Jeff Burey said. "Ross was such a great friend. What a great golf professional and coach. It means a lot to honor him. I think Ross is looking down on us today and smiling. I'm real excited that we can do something and remember our buddy Ross."
The golfers, who came from the Topeka and Kansas City areas, played the par 3 nine-hole course early in the morning, which provided for seeding for a match-play bracketed competition which followed. Burey and Randy Towner, general manager/head professional at Firekeeper Golf Course in Mayetta, Kansas, coordinated the event which honored Randall.
"I think like any of the other KU guys here, it brings back some great memories," said Jeff Sheppard, who played for Randall from 1981-84 and has lived in nearby Olathe, Kansas, since graduating from KU. "Anytime we think of Ross we think of our four years or however long we were at the University and playing for the Jayhawks - the traveling, the fun stories and all the places we went to across the United States. The dinners at night and the stories. Ross was full of stories. The best part was traveling with buddies on the team and with coach, creating stories and listening to stories."
"Playing in this is twofold," said Rob Wilkin from Overland Park, Kansas, who played for Randall in 1982-83. "For one, it's Ross and his wife Linda who are huge parts of my life and everyone in my timeframe there (at KU). Then, I worked for Jeff Burey for seven years and he's a huge part too. So it is two big figures in the shaping of my career."
Coming to KU in 1979, Randall was an institution on campus for three decades. He guided seven KU teams to the NCAA Championships and 19 to NCAA Regionals. His 1989 squad was the first Kansas team to reach the NCAA Finals in 32 years, and his 1996 team advanced to the final two rounds of the NCAA Championships, the second-best finish in Kansas history.
Randall coached five All-Americans during his tenure with the Jayhawks, including three two-time All-American selections: Chris Thompson, Ryan Vermeer and Chris Marshall. He also helped develop 27 all-conference selections including 2007 graduate Gary Woodland, who is competing on the PGA Tour.
In 1999 Randall took the fifth-seeded Jayhawks into the Big 12 Conference Championship and captured the program's first league title in 49 years. For his efforts that season, Randall was named the Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year.
In May 2007, Randall became KU's Director of Golf Operations until he retired in June 2009. He was inducted into the Kansas Golf Hall of Fame in 2014 by the Kansas Golf Foundation.