Iowa Men's Golf

Aug. 26, 2009

THIS WEEK — The University of Iowa men’s golf team will represent the Big Ten Conference, and along with Riverside Casino and Resort, co-host top teams from 14 other conferences in Golfweek’s 2009 Collegiate Conference Challenge. This inaugural event for Golfweek will kick off the 2009 fall collegiate season and include some the of the best Division I programs in the country. The 54-hole Challenge will be held at Blue Top Ridge in Riverside, IA, Aug. 29-Sept. 1, with 18 holes of play each of the three days.

BLUE TOP RIDGE — Designed by world-renowned architect Rees Jones, Blue Top Ridge is Jones’ newest championship golf course. Jones’ list of more than 100 courses includes seven U.S. Open venues, five PGA Championship courses and three Ryder Cup sites. Spanning over 7,500 yards, Blue Top Ridge is a world class golf course offering breathtaking vistas overlooking two rivers, lakes and diverse terrain. This will be the first collegiate event to be played at Blue Top Ridge.

THE COMPETITION — The 14 teams competing alongside Iowa, with their respective conference, include Florida State (ACC), Xavier (Atlantic 10), Baylor (Big 12), South Florida (Big East), Coastal Carolina (Big South), VCU (Colonial Athletic Association), Memphis (Conference USA), Illinois State (Missouri Valley), California (Pac-10), Vanderbilt (SEC), Georgia Southern (Southern), Texas-Arlington (Southland), Middle Tennessee State (Sun Belt) and New Mexico State (WAC).

HEAD COACH Mark Hankins — Hankins is in his third year as Iowa’s head men’s golf coach after spending seven years as the head coach at Michigan State University. Under Hankins, the Black and Gold won their first tournament title (2008 Landfall Tradition) since 2004 and placed sixth in the 2009 Big Ten Championships, their best finish in eight years. Iowa made its first NCAA Regionals and NCAA Championships appearance since 1995. The Hawkeyes advanced through regional play a year ago and placed 17th in the nation at the NCAA Championships. Additionally, the Hawkeyes have improved their Golfweek ranking from 155th to 54th with Hankins at the helm. He is a native of Mt. Pleasant, IA, and a graduate of Iowa State.

IOWA IN TOP 20 — Iowa advanced to the NCAA Regionals a year ago, placing fifth at the regional to earn a trip to the NCAA Championships for the first time since 1995. The Hawkeyes continued to play well at the championship meet, earning a 17th place finish with just one senior in the line-up.

LOOKING AHEAD — The Hawkeyes will travel to the Golden Gopher Invitational in Minneapolis, MN, Sept. 13-14. Last year, the Black and Gold finished fourth of 12 teams in the tournament, the highest of any Big Ten school.