Feb. 9, 2009
IOWA CITY – The nationally-ranked University of Iowa men’s golf team will travel to Coral Springs, FL to compete in the 2009 Big Ten Match Play Championships Feb 13-14. The match play format is the first of its kind for any conference in the NCAA and will be similar to the new format being used this year at the NCAA Championships.
The weekend’s events begin Thursday night with an opening ceremony held at Heron Bay Golf Club in Coral Springs. All fans and alumni are invited to attend this ceremony and dinner. The first matches and quarterfinals will begin Friday morning followed by the semifinals and championship match on Saturday.
Each team will consist of six golfers paired against an opponent from the opposing team for that match. The match consists of 18 holes of match play with each individual victory worth one team point and ties worth a half-point. Three and a half points will be necessary to win the team match.
The tournament’s fifth seeded Hawkeyes will compete first in the quarterfinals against the fourth-seeded University of Michigan at 7:45 a.m. on Friday. Michigan, who finished fifth in the 2008 Big Ten Championships and is currently ranked 37th in the country, has yet to compete against Iowa this season.
The Iowa-Michigan dual is the only quarterfinal match being played on Friday morning due to the bracket seeds.
“The seedings are based on fall results and we look forward to competing against the higher ranked University of Michigan,” Head Coach Mark Hankins said. “Michigan has a good team and we will have to play well to advance. This is the first competition of its kind and it should be unique and fun for fans as well as the players.”
Iowa’s six competitors will be led by senior Cole Peevler, who has led the Hawkeyes to their highest national ranking in school history. Sophomores Vince India and Brad Hopfinger will compete in the two and three spots, while Freshmen Brad George, Barrett Kelpin and Chris Brant will round out the Hawkeye lineup.
This year’s Iowa team, who climbed the rankings this fall with its first tournament title in four years, will be looking to finish highly in the competitive Big Ten Conference. All 11 teams open the spring ranked in the nation’s top-80 out of 300 Division I golf schools. Seven teams are currently ranked in the top-50 while sixth-ranked Illinois and eighth-ranked Indiana lead the pack. Iowa is currently ranked 43rd based on Golfstat rankings.
Additionally, Iowa has seen four Big Ten rivals in fall competition: Wisconsin, Penn State, Minnesota and Michigan State. Iowa has the head to head edge on each of these schools, with the exception of Michigan State.
The Match Play Championship will be contested on the beautiful Heron Bay Country Club, home to the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic for six years (1997-2002). The course was designed by PGA Tour player and golf course architect Mark McCumber. Heron Bay is also host to the prestigious Dixie Classic Amateur and VH1 Save the Music Celebrity Golf Classic.
The Big Ten will nationally broadcast the Match Play Championship with an emphasis on the opening ceremony, semifinal and final matches along with the awards ceremony. This event, which will broadcast tape-delayed, marks only the third national telecast of collegiate golf on the Big Ten Network.