May 1, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Three University of Iowa men’s golfers earned postseason awards from the Big Ten Conference Tuesday. Senior Barrett Kelpin was one of six players named first-team All-Big Ten, while senior Chris Brant and sophomore Steven Ihm were two of the six student-athletes named second-team All-Big Ten.
“All-Big Ten is a great honor that rewards the entire year of play,” UI head coach Mark Hankins said. “To have three players out of five starters named All-Big Ten is the result of a solid year, and a lot of consistent play by Barrett, Steven and Chris.”
Kelpin, currently ranked as the 32nd best collegiate golfer by Golfweek.com, finished second in the running for Big Ten Golfer of the Year to Illinois’ Luke Guthrie. Kelpin led the team with a 71.93 scoring average in the fall and currently paces the Hawkeyes with a 72.85 average in the spring. A native of Kalamazoo, Mich., Kelpin never finished lower than seventh place during regular-season stroke-play, including a second-place finish at the Boilermaker Invitational, a fifth-place finish at the Hawkeye-Great River Entertainment Invitational and seventh-place mark at the LSU National Invitational. Kelpin also finished inside the top 15 at the Big Ten Championships, tying for 12th.
Brant earns second-team All-Big Ten honors for the second straight year. He earned medalist honors at the Golden Gopher Invitational in the fall, and finished with a 73.67 stroke average. During the spring season, Brant owns a 72.15 stroke average and finished runner-up at the Hawkeye-Great River Entertainment Invitational. He also finished 13th at the LSU National Invitational and compiled a 3-0-1 record at the Callaway Collegiate Match-Play Championship, along with a 10th-place finish at the Big Ten Championships. Earlier this spring, Brant was named one of five finalists for the Byron Nelson Award.
Ihm posted a 73.53 stroke average in the fall and was named Big Ten Golfer of the Week after his second-place finish at the Rod Myers Invitational. He finished inside the top 20 in all three stroke play events in the spring, leading the Hawkeyes with a fifth-place finish at the LSU National Invitational. He posted a team-leading 4-2 record in match play events and has a spring stroke average of 73.85.
Ian Vandersee finished second in the rankings among Big Ten freshmen, narrowly missing Big Ten Freshman-of- the-Year honors.
Iowa was one of only two schools (Illinois) with three golfers selected to the All-Big Ten teams, and one of only three schools with more than one golfer chosen. This marks the second straight year that three Iowa golfers have been chosen to All-Big Ten teams.
This season is only the third time in school history that three Iowa golfers have earned All-Big Ten honors in the same season. Brad Klapprott, Sean McCarty and Brian Wilson were named All-Big Ten in 1992, while Brant, Vince India and Brad Hopfinger earned All-Big Ten honors last season.
Hankins has now coached individuals to six All-Big Ten honors in his five years at Iowa. The Hawkeyes had a combined six All-Big Ten honorees from 1992-2010, and just 16 before Hankins was hired in 2008.
Hankins has led the Hawkeyes to an upper-division finish at the Big Ten Championships in each of the last three seasons, and Iowa is a lock for NCAA Regional selection, marking the fourth consecutive season the Hawkeyes will compete in NCAA postseason play. Iowa will enter NCAA play as the highest-ranked team in the Big Ten (26th in the latest Golfweek.com rankings).
NCAA Regional selections take place next week, with competition being held at six different sites May 17-19. The top five teams at each region advance to the NCAA Championships, held May 29-June 3, at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles.