Feb. 13, 2010
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CORAL SPRINGS, FL – The University of Iowa men’s golf team defeated the University of Minnesota, Saturday afternoon, to take third place in the second annual Big Ten Match-Play Championships. After losing a tough semifinals match to the eventual champions, Northwestern, the Hawkeyes beat the Golden Gophers 3.5-2.5 to finish the tournament with a 2-1 record.
In the morning semifinals round, the Black and Gold lost, 2.5-3.5, in a match against Northwestern that came down to the final individual match. After sophomore Dusty Koth dropped his match, 4&3, sophomores Brad George, Chris Brant and Barrett Kelpin were able to pick up 2.5 points for the Hawkeyes. Both George and Kelpin earned one team point with 3&2 and 1-up wins, respectively, while Brant finished his individual match all square, earning Iowa a half-point.
Junior Brad Hopfinger’s match ended in a 6&5 loss to Northwestern junior and Golfweek’s No. 22 golfer in the nation, Josh Dupont. With junior Vince India left as the only Hawkeye on the course, an individual win would seal the deal for Iowa while a tie would give Northwestern the advantage in a 3-3 team tie with criteria. India and Northwestern’s David Lipsky were knotted up after 15 holes, but India dropped holes 16 and 18 to lose 2-up, sending the Hawkeyes to compete against Minnesota for third place.
Iowa’s final round of the tournament proved to be as much of a nail-biter as the previous two, with Iowa ending up on the good side of a 3.5-2.5 decision over Minnesota. Koth dropped his final individual match, 3&2, before George (3&2) and Brant (2&1) both picked up wins for the Black and Gold. Kelpin then lost a close individual match, 2&1, tying the match.
With India winning his individual match, 2&1, it was left in the hands of Hopfinger. The Lake Forest, IL native was down one hole going into the 18th before winning the hole and leaving his individual match tied, giving Minnesota and Iowa one more half-point apiece. That half-point proved to be the difference for the Hawkeyes as it kept the team match from going into a tie-breaker, a situation which would have favored the Golden Gophers.
“After a close loss in the morning, it’s a tough situation to come back and work for third place, but the guys took it upon themselves to win their individual matches rather than worry about the team win,” said Head Coach Mark Hankins. “I thought we did a good job in the afternoon of battling, and our hard work resulted in a win and a third place finish.”
Northwestern went on to win the Big Ten Match-Play Championships after beating Purdue six points to none, with all six individual matches being decided on the closing holes.
The No. 35 Hawkeyes will travel to Dallas, TX, for the Black and Gold Alumni Match March 6, before competing in the Calloway Collegiate Match-Play March 21-23.