Iowa Opens Season With Big 4 Match-Play

Feb. 1, 2010

THIS WEEK — The University of Iowa men’s golf team will travel to Chandler, AZ, Saturday to compete in the Big 4 Match-Play Challenge. Medal-match competition will be held at Lone Tree Golf Club and is scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. (PST).

LONE TREE GOLF CLUB — Lone Tree Golf Club, designed by architect Darryl Wilson of the CMX Group, opened in January of 2001. This semi-private, traditional-style course features five holes with water and one with an island green. The par 71 course plays to 6,984 and features a signature, 572-yard par five 18th hole.

THE BIG 4 — Competition will consist of “The Big 4” Division I golf programs in the state of Iowa: Iowa State, UNI, Drake and your Iowa Hawkeyes. Iowa will take on Drake in the first round while UNI will compete against Iowa State. The two winners of the first round will compete for the championship and the two losing teams will compete for third place.

MEDAL-MATCH GUIDELINES — Medal-match competition is similar to match-play in that six golfers from each team will compete head-to head with their respective opponent from the opposing team for that round. One team point will be awarded for every individual medal-match victory each round and a half of a point for a match that ends in a tie. There is a total of six points for the team match. Any team match that ends in a 3-3 tie will be decided by the cumulative score of all six players in the team match.

IOWA COMPETITORS — Competing for the Hawkeyes Saturday will be sophomores Barrett Kelpin, Chris Brant, Brad George and Dusty Koth and juniors Brad Hopfinger and Vince India.

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 then 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 now 36th with Hankins at the helm. He is a native of Mt. Pleasant, IA, and a graduate of Iowa State.

QUOTING COACH HANKINS — “The “Big 4″ is a great opportunity to compete early in the spring against the other Division I teams in the State of Iowa. This is a natural rivalry and the unique format will test each golfer’s competitive spirit with the head-to-head format. The team that plays the best from its first to sixth man will be the team that is crowned champion this weekend.”

LOOKING AHEAD — The Hawkeyes will travel to Coral Springs FL, Feb 12-13 for the Big Ten Match-Play Championships. The Black and Gold placed eighth in the 2009 championships.