Hawkeyes Continue Hunt for National Championship

May 27, 2011

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The University of Iowa men’s golf team travels to Stillwater, Okla., for the 2011 NCAA Men’s Golf Championships May 31-June 5. Action will consist of 54 holes of stroke play competition, followed by three rounds of match play. The Championships will be held on Oklahoma State’s Karsten Creek Golf Course. Fans can follow the action live at golfstatresults.com or check out the tournament central page at ncaa.com.

Karsten Creek plays to 7,416 yards of bent-grass greens and zoysia fairways cut into aged oak trees and black jacks. The par 72, which opened in 1994, was designed by Tom Fazio as a home course for the OSU Cowboys. It received honors as the Best New Public Course in the Nation soon after its opening and has continued to climb top 100 lists across the country. Most recently, Karsten Creek has been ranked as the best college course in the nation by Travel & Leisure Golf magazine.

An individual champion will be determined after 54-holes of stroke play. The field will then be cut to the low eight teams for a match play bracket to decide the team champion. Teams will play 18 holes each day in both stroke play and match play action.

The 13th-seeded Hawkeyes will compete among the top 30 teams left in Division I college golf. Competition begins Tuesday, May 31 at 7 a.m. (CT), but Iowa will wait until 2 p.m. to tee off of the 10th hole with 14th seed Duke and 15th seed Michigan. The same pairings will remain through Wednesday, with Iowa teeing off at 8:40 a.m. Teams will be re-paired based on tournament scores for Thursday, with tee times beginning at 7 a.m.

Iowa finished third at the 2011 Big Ten Championships. With three individuals in the top 20 (Brant, India and Hopfinger), the Hawkeyes finished with a four-round total of 1181 (+29). Illinois won the championship with an 1160 (+8) while Northwestern took home second with an 1179 (+27). Coupled with Iowa’s second place finish at last year’s Big Ten Championships, 2011 marks the best back-to-back finishes at the conference championships in school history. Seniors Vince India and Brad Hopfinger were both named first team all-Big Ten, while junior Chris Brant was a second team all-Big Ten selection. The last time Iowa had three players earn all-Big Ten honors was in 1992.

Vince India
India, a native of Deerfield, Ill., was named Big Ten Player of the Year for men’s golf after putting together the best individual season in Hawkeye history. India became just the second golfer in school history to win the prestigious Les Bolstad Trophy, awarded by the Big Ten Conference at the end of the season to the male golfer who records the lowest stroke average during the season (fall and spring). India’s 71.08 stroke average is the ninth-lowest in the trophy’s history, dating back to 1974.

India was also named the University of Iowa’s Male Athlete of the Year and is in the running for the Big Ten Male Athlete of the Year for all sports. He has been individually ranked as high as third by Golfstat and is currently No. 15 (17th by Golfweek).

The Hawkeyes tied for fourth at the Indiana-hosted NCAA Central Regional in Zionsville, Ind., May 19-21. The Black and Gold never fell out of the top five as it posted a 54-hole total of 865 (+13), the 11th-lowest three round total in program history. In their respective finishes, Michigan, Illinois, Alabama, Iowa and Tennessee advanced out of the Central Regional. Juniors Chris Brant and Barrett Kelpin led the Hawkeyes with top 20 finishes. Brant tied for seventh with a tournament total of three-under par 210. Kelpin posted a 217 (+4) to tie for 20th.

This season marks the third-consecutive year that Iowa has been invited to NCAA Regional competition. The Hawkeyes advanced to the NCAA Championships in 2009, but missed the top five by a single stroke in 2010. After a fifth-place finish in the 2009 NCAA Central Regional, Iowa finished 17th at the NCAA Championships. India, a sophomore at the time, led the way as he tied for 37th with a three round total of 219 (+6). This year’s trip to the NCAA Championships marks not only Iowa’s second in three years, but the seventh appearance in school history.