Aug. 12, 2011
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Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — After earning a tie for 10th place at the 2011 NCAA Men’s Golf Championships, the highest finish in the history of men’s golf at the University of Iowa, the men’s golf team has not rested on its laurels over the summer.
In fact, it has been just the opposite for head coach Mark Hankins’ squad, as a number of Hawkeye players have enjoyed individual success this summer.
Senior-to-be Barrett Kelpin won the Northern Amateur and placed seventh at the Monroe Invitational. He was also a quarterfinalist at the North & South Amateur. Kelpin earned the title at the Northern Amateur in Chesterton, Ind., by shooting a 10-under par score of 206 over the 54-hole event.
Chris Brant, who will also be a Hawkeye senior, has had a busy summer as well. Brant finished as the runner-up to former UI men’s golfer Brad Hopfinger at the Illinos State Amateur with an eight-under par score of 276. Hopfinger carded a -12 total of 272 to win the title.
“I’m pleased with the way the guys have continued to improve their summer schedules. Amateur golf is highly competitive, both during the college season and during the summer. Playing the best competition during the summer is a great way to improve their collegiate play and keep the guys on target for reaching their goals.”
UI head coach Mark Hankins
Brant also tied for sixth at the Metropolitan St. Louis Open near his home of Edwardsville, Ill., and tied for eighth at the Trans-Miss Amateur. He also tied for 17th at the Northern Amateur and tied for 38th at the Western Amateur. Brant earned second team all-Big Ten honors a year ago after placing second at the Big Ten Championships — one stroke behind the individual champion. He earned honorable mention All-America recognition.
“I’m pleased with the way the guys have continued to improve their summer schedules,” said Hankins. “Amateur golf is highly competitive, both during the college season and during the summer. Playing the best competition during the summer is a great way to improve their collegiate play and keep the guys on target for reaching their goals.”
Ian Vandersee, a redshirt freshman from Des Moines, earned a spot in the U.S. Amateur by taking medalist honors at the qualifying event held at Blue Top Ridge. Vandersee won the event by three strokes to earn one of the two qualifying spots. Vandersee, who also qualified for the U.S. Amateur in 2009, also placed 12th at the Western Junior Championship.
Jed Dirksen, who is also beginning his final season with the Hawkeyes, earned an exemption into the U.S. Amateur by being a quarterfinalist at the event a year ago. Dirksen also qualified for the 2011 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.
Another senior, Brad George, tied for 18th at the Iowa State Amateur Championship. In addition, senior Jared Walahoski, joined Dirksen as a qualifier for the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.
“We’ve had more summer highlights from multiple guys this summer, which speaks well for our team depth,” said Hankins. “They have performed well in some of the top events available for amateurs in the Midwest. While we have veterans returning, we also have spots in the line-up that will be open as we get started in September.”
The list of impressive performances includes newcomers to the program. Brian Bullington, an incoming freshman from Frankfurt, Ill., placed first at the PGA Junior Series event held at Blue Top Ridge in Riverside. He placed 18th at the Northern Amateur and tied for 23rd at the Junior PGA Championship. He also qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, advancing to the match play portion of the event before being eliminated in a 19-hole match.
Freshman Joseph Winslow, a native of Overland Park, Kan., earned the Kansas Class 5A state title as a senior. He tied for 26th at the Thunderbird Invitational and was selected for the 2011 Wyndham Cup.
“Golf is a sport where the individuals are accustomed to playing a heavy schedule, they’ve played for years on the junior circuit,” said Hankins. “Playing well helps increase their national rankings and provides added exposure. It’s what they do; they compete throughout the year to become the best players they can be. That is the approach and attitude we expect from our golfers.”
The Hawkeyes return four of six golfers who participated in the majority of the events a year ago. The losses include Vince India, the 2011 Big Ten Golfer of the Year, and Hopfinger, who were senior leaders a year ago and key contributors as Iowa earned a spot in the NCAA Championships in two of the last three years.