Sept. 24, 2012
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa men’s golf team hosted its sixth-annual Alumni Challenge on Friday at Finkbine. The event, which made its debut in head coach Mark Hankin’s first season at Iowa, consisted of 41 alumni and 50 total participants.
The event was played as a five-person best-ball made up of 11 groups. Each group consisted of four alumni and one current Hawkeye golfer. Following 18-holes, the participants met at the University Athletic Club for an awards ceremony and another chance for current and former Hawkeye greats to converse.
“We give everyone numerous reasons to come back,” Hankins said. “The alumni get to meet our current players, and it melds the old with the new to create the Hawkeye family that we want this program to be surrounded with.”
With a round at 16-under par (54) on the par-72 Finkbine course, alumni Lonnie Nielson, Steve Kahler, Kevin Burich, Kenny Anderson and current Iowa sophomore Joseph Winslow won the challenge. The group won on a scorecard playoff after tying with alumni Sean McCarty, Chad McCarty, Brian Wilson, Jon Frommelt and current Iowa junior Ryan Marks, who also shot a 54. Alumni Scott Carpenter, Bo Anderson, Ross Gibson, Adam Turner and current Iowa junior Steven Ihm placed third.
While the event featured very skilled, and competitive golfers, the main focus of the Alumni Challenge was on having a good time with the Iowa golf family.
“It’s a great event they put on, and it’s great to come back and see everybody from the old days and the newer guys,” said Sean McCarty, who was Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 1992 and was an All-American in 1995. “It’s been awhile since I’ve been back here already, so it’s great to get together with all these guys.”
Bo Anderson, who holds Iowa’s 72-hole record by carding a 282 (-6) at the 2001 Big Ten Championships to finish three strokes behind Luke Donald, agreed with McCarty’s sentiments.
“Ever since Mark put this together, it’s been great for us to put this date on the calendar and make sure we get back for it,” said Anderson. “It’s good to come back here and see your second family; Iowa golf.”
The event also gives Iowa’s former players and coaches an opportunity to see the current state of the program. After qualifying for NCAA postseason action each of the past four seasons, the former Hawkeyes don’t have to worry about Iowa’s current condition.
“Mark has done a fantastic job with this Iowa program,” said 1978 letterwinner Gary Updegraff. “He is moving the program forward and establishing a Hawkeye tradition of winning. Mark isn’t going to accept anything less than that, that’s just the way it is, and I think that’s great for this program.”
The Hawkeyes are coming off a fourth place finish at the Golfweek Conference Challenge hosted by Iowa and Spirit Hollow in Burlington, Iowa. Iowa will return to action Oct. 13-14 at the Rod Myers Invitational in Durham, N.C.