Hawkeyes Prepare For Big 4 Match Play Challenge

Feb. 1, 2011

IOWA CITY, Iowa – The University of Iowa men’s golf team will open its spring season at the annual Big 4 Match Play Challenge in Chandler, Ariz., Feb. 5. The Hawkeyes, ranked 10th in Golfstat’s national rankings and 12th by Golfweek, will seek in-state bragging rights over Drake, Iowa State and Northern Iowa in a medal-match format.

Competition will be held at Lone Tree Golf Club in Chandler. 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.

In medal -match play, each player competes head-to-head with an opponent from the opposing team. At the end of 18 holes, the player with the low 18-hole medal score wins a point for his team. In the case of a tie, each player is awarded one-half of a team point. With a total of 6 players from each team, six points are possible in each match and you need three and one-half points for the win.

“Medal-match gives us the head-to-head competitiveness, yet allows all of the coaches to evaluate how each player is playing within their own team,” said Head Coach Mark Hankins. “This is a necessary function for future tournaments as we progress through the spring.”

The Hawkeyes will face Drake in the first round, beginning at 9 a.m. (CT), while Iowa State will take on Northern Iowa. The winner of each match will pair up for the Big 4 Championship at 2 p.m. The two losing teams will battle for third.

Last year at the Big 4, Iowa defeated Drake in a first round sweep before falling to Iowa State by criteria after a 3-3 tie.

Competing for Iowa, in their respective positions, will be seniors Vince India, and Brad Hopfinger and juniors Chris Brant, Barrett Kelpin, Brad George and Jed Dirksen. India finished the fall season with a record-low scoring average of 70.2 and is currently ranked eighth in the nation by Golfweek. Hopfinger, ranked 45th individually, finished the fall season with a scoring average of 71.1.

After reeling off four straight tournament titles in the fall, Hankins and the Hawkeyes are anxious to begin the spring season. The head-to-head format is great preparation for the Big Ten Match-Play Championships and postseason competition.

“We are approaching this tournament as any other last fall,” added Hankins. “We will go through our routine of preparation when we arrive in Arizona and adapt to the course as quickly as possible. It is the responsibility of each of our players to take care of their own work and post the best scores that they can for the weekend.”

Following the Big 4 Match Play, The Hawkeyes will compete at the Big Ten Match-Play Championships Feb. 11-12. Competition will be held on The Champion course at the PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. The event will be televised on the Big Ten Network.