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WAYZATA, Minn. — The University of Iowa men’s golf team tied for 10th place at the Golden Gopher Invitational on the Spring Hill Golf Club. The Hawkeyes carded a 54-hole score of 922 (+58), including a final round tally of 321 (+33) in the opening tournament of the fall season.
Playing in tougher conditions, the average score in the field increased four strokes per player from round two to round three. The final round scoring average among the field was 79.65.
Iowa opened the fall season with experience against quality competition, as nine of the 15 teams in the field are either ranked or receiving votes in the GolfWorld/Nike Golf Preseason Coaches Poll. Six teams in the field were NCAA postseason participants last year as well.
“We held our position today, but we didn’t have anybody go particularly low and that hurt us,” said head coach Mark Hankins. “The wind blew hard, the greens played fast and the average score went up four strokes as a result.”
The Hawkeyes were led by junior Steven Ihm, who placed tied for 29th with a three-round total of 229 (+ 13). After shooting a 41 (+5) on the back nine to start his round, Ihm rebounded with two birdies, two bogeys and five pars to shoot an even-par 36 on the front nine. Ihm led Iowa with four birdies on the day, and carded a 77 (+5) in his final round.
Sophomore Ian Vandersee placed tied for 32nd after closing the tournament with a score of 230 (+14). Vandersee recorded pars on three of his first four holes, but bogeyed his next four holes before finding a birdie on No. 16. Vandersee carded seven pars in his final round and finished with an 81 (+9).
Junior Ryan Marks and sophomore Brian Bullington each tied for 52nd place with a mark of 235 (+19). Marks finished with closing round of 81 (+9) with birdies on No. 16 and 3. Bullington tallied an 82 (+10) in the final round. After a tough opening nine holes, Bullington fought back on the front side, with birdies on holes No. 1 and 7. Freshman Landon Kowalski, competing in his first collegiate tournament, rounded out Iowa’s scoring. Kowalski finished tied for 61st with a three-round score of 239 (+23).
The Hawkeyes will return to action on Sunday, as the University of Iowa and Spirit Hollow Golf Course co-host the Golfweek Conference Challenge at Spirit Hollow in Burlington, Iowa. The challenge will be one of the premiere events in the nation this fall, as it pits 15 teams from 15 different conferences in the field.
“Playing at home on a familiar course in front of a home crowd will be a great experience for the team,” said Hankins. “Our expectations remain high, and we will use Minnesota as an education and experience to be better prepared for the Golfweek Conference Challenge.”