Sept. 30, 2008
Editor’s note: 24 Hawkeyes to Watch is a feature released Thursday, Aug. 7, highlighting one athlete from each of the 24 intercollegiate sports offered by the University of Iowa. More than 700 talented student-athletes are currently busy preparing for the 2008-09 athletics year at the UI. Hawkeyesports.com will introduce you to 24 Hawkeyes who, for one reason or another, are poised to play a prominent role in the intercollegiate athletics program at the UI in the coming year.
by Sean Neugent
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Tyrette Metzendorf, a senior on the University of Iowa women’s golf team, looks to lead the Hawkeyes by having her sights set on an individual Big Ten championship this season after finishing third a year ago.
Metzendorf is from the Sunshine State of Florida, where the game of golf enjoys immense popularity. The senior hails from Winter Haven and her dad introduced her to golf at an early age and she has loved it ever since.
Metzendorf attended Winter Haven High School and immediately made a positive impact on the golf program. She was named captain all four seasons there, a deserving honor for someone who was ranked No. 49 in the final 2004 Golfweek poll. Metzendorf recorded six top 10 American Junior Golf Association finishes. To go along with her extensive résumé, she was ranked No. 1 by the 2004 Florida Junior Golf Association.
After visiting the UI campus, Metzendorf knew that being part of the Hawkeyes tradition would be an excellent decision. The Hawkeyes have also certainly benefited from the acquisition of Metzendorf.
“I just love the school,” Metzendorf said. “The campus was exactly what I wanted. I really like my coach and my teammates. It’s a perfect college town.”
Metzendorf is on top of several categories in Iowa women’s golf history. If the 2008 Big Ten Championships are any indication, all signs point to another impressive performance during her final year of collegiate competition.
“Tyrette means a lot to the team,” UI head coach Kelly Crawford said. “She had a great year last year. She finished her junior season third in the conference championship which is tremendous for her and our program. She played a lot of tournaments this summer — won a couple, played the British Am.”
The Hawkeyes realized what they had as soon as Metzendorf stepped foot on Finkbine Golf Course. There was no sign of freshman struggles when Metzendorf ranked No. 1 on team in season scoring with an average of 76.4 per 198 holes. She also had three top-10 finishes.
“We’re expecting her to come in and lead this team. We have a goal to finish in the top three of the conference and if she continues to play as well as she has all summer and continues to improve, she will do some good things for us.”
UI head coach
There was no sign of a sophomore slump, either. Metzendorf ranked second on the Hawkeyes with a team scoring average of 78.2. During her junior year, the Hawkeye burst on the scene and Metzendorf started to become a household name in golf circles. She won the Baja Invitational and was named the Big Ten Women’s Golfer of the Week because of that first-place finish. Metzendorf had nine top-20 finishes, including five in the top 10. The biggest accomplishment was finishing third at the Big Ten Championships, and of course, once again finishing first on the team in scoring average at 75.7.
“I just want to have a good season,” Metzendorf said. “I can’t go out there thinking about what I did last year. I just have to take the season as it comes. I have to play my best and see how it goes.”
Metzendorf dominates the school record book at Iowa with several top performances. Her score of 295 at the Big Ten Championships ranks first on Iowa’s top performances for 72 holes. Her second-round score of 70 at the tournament also ranks first as the lowest individual score for any single round. She broke the record for low 18-hole score after shooting 68 at the Lady Northern Invitational.
Crawford is hoping that Metzendorf’s stature as one of the best Hawkeyes to ever golf for the program will rub off on her teammates as the Hawkeyes prepare for a move up in the Big Ten this season.
“We rely on her to lead from a scoring perspective,” Crawford said. “She has the ability to put up the low numbers. Now it’s a matter of getting the younger players to say, `I want to go after that.’ Not just letting her be the No. 1 player but saying, `Here’s the best player on our team and I want to go after that.'”
The Hawkeyes had an eighth-place finish in the Big Ten last season, but Metzendorf expects a much better performance in her final year.
“I think we are going to do really well as a team,” Metzendorf said. “Everyone’s been working pretty hard this year, I’m sure we’ll do well and we’ll just see what happens.”
“We’re expecting her to come in and lead this team,” Crawford said. “We have a goal to finish in the top three of the conference and if she continues to play as well as she has all summer and continues to improve, she will do some good things for us.”
In her finale, Metzendorf will have an opportunity to break more records at the UI, including most of her own. She is on the verge of greatness, and has the potential to come out of the UI as the best women’s golfer to ever grace the university.