Solid Finish Gives Iowa Tournament Championship

April 17, 2011

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Hawkeye-Taylormade Invitational Final Results and Stats in PDF Format

IOWA CITY, Iowa – The No. 11 ranked University of Iowa men’s golf team captured its seventh tournament title under Head Coach Mark Hankins Sunday, taking the Hawkeye-Taylormade Invitational championship with a 36-hole total of 589 (+13). Senior Vince India earned medalist honors for the third time in his career, firing a two-round score of 142 (-2). He shared medalist honors with Charlotte’s Andy Sajevic. The Hawkeye-Taylormade Invitational was held at Finkbine Golf Course in Iowa City.

“We were ready to go from the first hole today,” Hankins said. “We got off to a good start, we had five guys in the tournament the whole day. A lot of guys around even par, and that was good enough, the course played tough this week.”

This is the first tournament championship of the spring for Hankins and the Hawkeyes, after recording a third place finish at the LSU Collegiate Invitational in their last competition two weeks ago. Iowa won four-straight tournaments during the fall season.

All three of India’s first place finishes have come during his senior campaign. He earned medalist honors at the Conference Golfweek Challenge and Baylor Intercollegiate in the fall. India entered the Hawkeye-Taylormade Invitational ranked No. 8 in the country.

Iowa edged Missouri by three strokes for the team title, as the Tigers finished in a tie for second with UNC-Charlotte at +16 (592). The Hawkeyes put away a tough Missouri team, who had won four straight tournaments entering the Hawkeye-Taylormade Invitational.

The battle for the team championship was tight throughout the final round. Missouri entered Sunday with a one shot lead, and held the same advantage heading into the back nine, as both the Tigers and Hawkeyes recorded a team score of three-over par on the front side. Iowa shaved three strokes off its team score on the back, firing even par, while Missouri struggled to close with a six-over par on the back side.

UNC-Charlotte started Sunday in fifth place, but a team score of five-under par 283 bolted the 49ers into the second place tie.

India led the Hawkeyes Sunday, firing a one-under par 71 to claim a share of medalist honors. India held a one-stroke lead over UNC-Charlotte’s Sajevic heading into the final hole, but his par putt to earn outright medalist honors lipped out, circling the entire hole and coming to rest on the edge. Battling windy and cold weather throughout the weekend, India led the field in par four scoring, finishing -1 for the tournament. He also had the second-most birdies for the weekend with seven.

Sajevic shot three-over par Saturday and started Sunday on the fifth hole. After a par, he trimmed three strokes with an eagle on six and a birdie on seven. Bogeys on nine and 14 brought him back to +2 for the tournament, but another eagle-birdie stretch on 15 and 16 put him at -1, just one stroke off the lead. Sajevic then birdied the first hole to get to -2, and finished with two pars to tie India.

“Vince played really solid all day,” Hankins said. “He started well, stayed patient and made some clutch putts when he needed to. He made a couple of birdies mid-round that got him going and continued to play well through the finish.”

Iowa’s Brad Hopfinger tied for 10th place with a 148 (+4). He shot an even par 72, recording a 36 on both the front and back at Finkbine. Hopfinger had four birdies, two bogeys and one double bogey on the afternoon.

Barrett Kelpin and Brad George tied for 17th place with a 151 (+7). Kelpin was clutch for Iowa down the stretch, carding birdies on three-straight holes at 15, 16 and 17 to help separate the Hawkeyes from Missouri and UNC-Charlotte. George recorded one of just eight eagles in the tournament, carding a three on the par-5 15th hole, en route to his top 20 finish.

Chris Brant was close behind his teammates, finishing in a tie for 20th place with a 152 (+8). Brant also helped Iowa claim the tournament trophy in the final holes, draining a birdie and four-straight pars to close his round.

The Hawkeyes also had three team members compete as individuals over the weekend. James Reiss tied for 37th with a 155 (+11), to pace the Hawkeye individuals. Jared Walahoski finished tied for 42nd with a 156 (+12), while Jed Dirksen tied for 55th with a 160 (+16).

The signature 13th hole at Finkbine had the highest scoring average for the tournament, with the field playing the hole at an average of +0.98 over par. In a total of 118 rounds on the weekend, No. 13 only yielded six birdies and 55 pars. Twenty six players bogeyed, 28 players double bogeyed and three players had scores higher than a double bogey.

Finkbine’s sixth hole had the lowest stroke average at -0.15 under par. Five eagles and 38 birdies were tallied on the sixth.

The Hawkeyes return to action Saturday at the Robert Kepler Invitational, hosted by Ohio State. Competition will take place at the Scarlet Course in Columbus.

HEAD COACH Mark Hankins
“With the weather, it was nicer this afternoon, the guys could take off their jackets and get warmed up. The greens were in perfect shape, they were still soft. Today we were really focused, none of the distractions bothered us, we hung in there through the last hole.

This was a nice week for us, playing at home, we didn’t have to travel. We are looking forward to our tournament at Ohio State next week and the Big Ten Championships the following week.”

“I think the most important thing is I putted pretty good today. I got up and down from some crazy spots, I made a lot of putts that some days I would miss. A lot of 10-footers, made a 20-footer on 17 to keep the momentum going, rolled in some 15-footers for birdies, which was nice, my putting kept me in there today when my ball-striking wasn’t that good.

I birdied nine, made about a 30-footer from the middle of the green, that got me going. Birdied 11, the par five, birdied the next par five, 15, that was about it, three birdies and two bogies.”

On individual win
“Sometimes when you come out in the spring, it’s hard to continue the success from the fall. I’m glad to keep this momentum going; it’s turned out to be a pretty good year.”

Team success
“This keeps our momentum going as a team. It’s nice to get the win after messing up at LSU (placed third). It re-affirms the fact that we are a good team, we beat some good competition this week. It is a confidence-booster heading towards the post season.”

Brad Hopfinger
“Getting a win is real good for our confidence at this point in the season. This is our first win since the fall, even though we had played some good golf. While this wasn’t our best week, we still got a win and it feels good.

It turned out to be a good day today with the weather, which was nice, yesterday was brutal. You just have to be patient, and I think we did that. I’m pretty happy with today, I didn’t have a great golf swing this week, but I thought I hung in there pretty well, I’m pleased with where I finished. I had one double bogie today, other than that I played pretty good, a little conservative, just kind of got it around in the spots I knew I could make pars, and give myself some chances for birdie, and I did that. I made some nice up and downs.”

Barrett Kelpin
“It was a little easier today, the wind was down a little bit, compared to yesterday. I got off to a good start, played steady. I got it to two under par on the back, but had a stumble on 18 and finished even for the day. All in all, putted pretty well, played solid from tee to green, I was glad I could shoot a better score today and help the team win.

I birdied six, the par five; I laid up, then chipped it up close and made the putt. On the back I birdied 15, 16 and 17. I hit it close on all three and made the putts from five to six feet. There were some tough pins today, I did a good job of managing that and I think the entire team did as a whole.

We hadn’t had a win since the fall, so getting back on that band wagon, back in the winner’s circle, is good for us and will boost everyone’s confidence. We’ll practice hard, hopefully play well at Ohio State next week and get ready for Big Ten’s, where we’ll all want to have our best stuff.”

Brad George
“I started off good, I was one under after seven, but then I had a really poor stretch from 8, through 10, I was five over par on those three. Then I battled for the next eight holes, played those even par, it could have been worse. My putting saved me quite a bit, it could have been worse if I didn’t make the putts I needed to make, putting helped me the most. Winning the team title it what we work for. Coming out with the team win will hopefully give us great confidence heading into next week.”

Chris Brant
“It was a struggle for me today, not too many bright points. I did make my lone birdie on 16. I just didn’t get in the zone; I didn’t find the zone today, didn’t find the zone I needed. But, my teammates picked me up today, that’s why it’s a team sport.”

Team Results
1. Iowa 298-291-589 (+13)
T2. Charlotte 309-283-592 (+16)
T2. Missouri 297-295-592 (+16)
4. Wichita State 312-284-596 (+16)
5. North Texas 304-295-599 (+23)
6. Kansas 308-295-603 (+27)
7. Kansas State 313-298-611 (+35)
T8. Miami (Ohio) 317-295-612 (+36)
T8. Nebraska 316-296-612 (+36)
10. Eastern Michigan 315-300-615 (+39)
11. Iowa State 318-304-622 (+46)

Individual Results – Par 72 (Top 3 + Iowa)
T1. Vince India (Iowa) 71-71-142 (-2)
T1. Andy Sajevic (Charlotte) 75-67-142 (-2)
3. Carlos Ortiz (North Texas) 73-70-143 (-1)
T10. Brad Hopfinger (Iowa) 76-72-148 (+4)
T17. Brad George (Iowa) 75-76-151 (+7)
T17. Barrett Kelpin (Iowa) 79-72-151 (+7)
T20. Chris Brant (Iowa) 76-76-152 (+8)