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WAYZATA, Minn. — The University of Iowa men’s golf team sits in ninth place out of 15 teams after the opening day of the Golden Gopher Invitational in the first action of the fall season. Iowa fired a 601 (+25), 36 hole total at the Spring Hill Golf Club.
Four of Iowa’s five players improved their score from the first round to the second, while Iowa shaved five strokes off its opening round team score. Iowa shot a 303 (+15) in the morning, and closed the day out with a 298 (+10).
Nine of the 15 teams in the field are either ranked or receiving votes in the GolfWorld/Nike Golf Preseason Coaches Poll, while six were NCAA postseason participants last year.
“I was pleased with our consistent play today, but at the same time, we didn’t save the shots we needed to down the stretch,” said head coach Mark Hankins. “We gave the course a little too much respect, and now we have to adjust our sights and play a new set of conditions for a good round tomorrow.”
The Hawkeyes were led by sophomore Ian Vandersee with a 36-hole tally of 149 (+5). Vandersee is tied for 22nd place individually. Vandersee shot a 75 (+3) in the opening round, keeping a clean scorecard with 14 pars. The West Des Moines, Iowa, native would do the same in the second round with a 74 (+2). Vandersee played just six holes above par on the day.
Iowa was also paced by freshman Landon Kowalski, who was playing the first collegiate round of his career. The Buffalo Grove, Ill., is tied for 31st place after carding rounds of 72 (E) and 79 (+7). Kowalski sat in eighth place through 18 holes after firing an even par round. Kowalski played the final 12 holes at four-under in his morning round. Kowalski shot a 79 (+7) in the second round.
“Landon had a great opening round,” Hankins said. “To shoot even and have the low round of the team in your first round as a Hawkeyes is very notable. He played within himself and took his time around the golf course.”
Junior Steven Ihm trimmed four strokes off his card from the first round to the second, shooting a 152 (+8) to tie for 37th through two rounds. Ihm opened with a 78 (+6), and carded a 74 (+2) in the afternoon after playing the front nine one-under par.
Sophomore Brian Bullington is tied for 46th place after carding a 153 (+9). The Frankfort, Ill., native shot a 78 (+6) in the first round, and would improve on his second round by three strokes with a 75 (+3) after playing 15 holes at par or better.
Junior Ryan Marks shot a 154 (+10), and was the only player in the field to eagle the par-5 fifth hole twice. Marks, from Warrensburg, Mo., shot a 79 (+7) in the first round and a 75 (+3) in the second. Marks played his final 11 holes of the day at even par.
Action at the Golden Gopher Invitational will come to an end on Monday, with the final 18 holes being played at 8:30 a.m. with a shotgun start.