Sept. 21, 2011
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THIS WEEK — The University of Iowa men’s golf team hosts the Golfweek Conference Challenge in Burlington, Iowa Sept. 25-27. One round will be played each of the three days at Spirit Hollow Golf Course. Sunday and Monday tee times begin at 9 a.m. (CT), while Tuesday is a shotgun start beginning at 8:30 a.m. Admission is free. Fans can follow the action live at golfstatresults.com or golfweek.com.
THE FIELD — The Golfweek Conference Challenge is a one-of-kind tournament that pits 15 different schools, representing 15 different conferences. Iowa (Big Ten) will be joined by Oklahoma State (Big 12), Georgia Tech (ACC), California (Pac-10), Arkansas (SEC), North Texas (Sun Belt), Tulsa (C-USA), SE Louisiana (Southland), Chattanooga (SoCon), New Mexico State (WAC), New Mexico (MWC), Kennesaw State (A-Sun), Xavier (A-10), Ball State (MAC) and UC Irvine (Big West).
Of the 15 teams competing, 11 participated in NCAA Regional play last season. Of those 11, six teams moved on to the NCAA Championships. Additionally, three of the top-10 teams from last year’s final rankings are participating in this year’s event (No. 1 Oklahoma State, No. 3 Georgia Tech and No. 9 Iowa).
TOP-50 INDIVIDUALS — The 2011 field for the Golfweek Conference Challenge will showcase some of college golf’s most talented individuals. Eleven competitors finished the 2011 season ranked inside the top-100. Oklahoma State’s Peter Uihlein (No. 2), Georgia Tech’s James White (No. 10), Arkansas’ Sebastian Cappelen (No. 25) and Ethan Tracy (No. 49) and Kennesaw State’s Jeff Karlsson (No. 27) all finished inside the top-50 last season.
THE COURSE — The 18-hole “Spirit Hollow” course at the Spirit Hollow Golf Course facility continues to be ranked by Golf Digest as one of the top courses in the state each year. With 7,360 yards of golf from the tips, this par 72 has a course rating of 73.1 with a slope rating of 134 on Bent grass. Spirit Hollow opened in 2000 and was designed by Richard Jacobson (ASGCA). Spirit Hollow has played host to the 2007 U.S. Amateur qualifier, the 2009 Iowa Senior Amateur Championship, the 2010 U.S. Open Qualifier and the 2011 Iowa Match-Play Championship.
LAST TIME OUT — Iowa finished sixth at the 14-team Golden Gopher Invitational in Wayzata, Minn., Sept. 11-12. Seniors Chris Brant and Barrett Kelpin led the charge as the two finished first and second, respectively. Brant medaled with a three-round mark of two-under par 214 as Kelpin posted the only other score under par (215, -1).
GOLFWEEK — Golfweek Magazine – For Serious Golfers Only – is the sport’s esteemed journal of record. Thanks to Golfweek’s in-depth and insightful coverage of everything from mini-tour events to the newest trends in the golf industry, Golfweek readers are always in the know.
Golfweek readers are avid, affluent golfers with diverse interests and discerning tastes. They demand the very best, which is why they depend on Golfweek’s unrivaled brand of journalism. With engaging content, authoritative insights and exclusive behind the scenes information, Golfweek provides golf’s most desired audience – the affluent, avid golfer – with a weekly account of all things golf.
HEAD COACH Mark Hankins — Hankins is in his fifth year as Iowa’s head men’s golf coach after spending seven years as the head coach at Michigan State University. Under Hankins, the Hawkeyes finished last season ranked ninth among all NCAA Division I teams. Hankins’ 2010-11 squad is coming off a 10th place finish at the 2011 NCAA Championships, Iowa’s best finish since 1960. After a second place finish at the 2010 Big Ten Championships, its best finish since 1992, Iowa placed third at the 2011 Big Tens. Hankins and company will look to make their fourth-consecutive NCAA postseason appearance this season. Hankins is a native of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, and a graduate of Iowa State.