March 26, 2013
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The University of Iowa men’s golf team opens its spring tournament season Thursday at the U.S. Intercollegiate in Stanford, Calif. The Hawkeyes are one of 17 teams in action at the three-day event. 18 holes will be played each day beginning at 10 a.m. (CT) on the Stanford Golf Course. Live results can be found at www.golfgamebook.com/collegegolf.
Iowa will compete against Lamar, Northwestern, Pepperdine, Saint Mary’s (CA), San Diego State, San Jose State, Stanford, Texas Christian, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, San Francisco and Southern California. The field includes seven teams ranked within the top-50 of the Golfstat Rankings, led by top-ranked California, No. 7 Southern California and No. 9 Stanford. The Hawkeyes are ranked 49th — seventh highest in the 17-team field.
The field consists of 26 players ranked in the Golfstat Cup Standings, including 10 within the top-50. The tournament also boasts the three highest ranked golfers in the nation. Iowa’s Steven Ihm is one of the top-ranked players in the field, checking in at No. 137.
Designed by George C. Thomas Jr. and William Bell, the Stanford Golf Course opened in Jan. 1, 1930. Playing 6,727 yards from the tips, the course plays as a par-70. The course has hosted many notable events, including U.S. Open Qualifying and NCAA Championships.
LAST TIME OUT
Iowa won the Big Four Championships to claim in-state bragging rights on Feb. 16 at the Lone Tree Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz. The Hawkeyes swept Drake, 6-0, in the first round and defeated Iowa State, 5-1, in the championships.
Steven Ihm, Joseph Winslow, Ian Vandersee and Brian Bullington each went 2-0, while Ryan Marks went 1-1. Ten of Iowa’s 12 rounds were played under par, while the Hawkeyes were a combined 11-under in all 12 matches. Ihm had the lowest two-round score in the field, an eight-under, 134.
MATCH PLAY DOMINANCE
The Hawkeyes opened spring competition with two match play events, posting a 4-1 team record. Iowa was dominant in those matches, with a 21.5-5.5 record in individual matches.
Iowa defeated Purdue (4-1) and Ohio State (3.5-1.5) in the Big Ten Match Play Championships, and Drake (6-0) and Iowa State (5-1) in the Big Four Championships.
Freshman Nate Yankovich provided Iowa with solid results in match play, posting a 4-1 overall record. The Blacklick, Ohio, native went 2-1 at the Big Tens and 2-0 at the Big Fours. Yankovich will compete in Iowa’s varsity lineup for the first time in his career this week in Stanford.
VANDERSEE CLOSES FALL WITH TITLE
Sophomore Ian Vandersee provided fireworks for Iowa in the final fall event, winning the individual title at the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate. Vandersee shot a seven-under, 206, which is tied for the lowest three-round score in program history. His opening round 65 (-6) is tied for the third lowest 18-hole score in program history. Vandersee became the 50th Hawkeye to win medalist honors, and was named Big Ten Golfer of the Week for his efforts.
IHM LEADING THE WAY
Junior Steven Ihm recorded nine rounds at or below par and had two top-10 finishes in the fall, both of which were team highs. Ihm placed second at the Golfweek Conference Challenge (209/-7) and fifth at the Rod Myers Invitational (216/E). The Peosta, Iowa, native carded his best round of the season in the opening round at Spirit Hollow Golf Course, a four-under par, 68. Ihm is currently ranked 96th in the Golfweek/Sagarin individual rankings.
THIS TIME LAST YEAR
The Hawkeyes opened their spring tournament season last year at the LSU Invitational. Iowa placed runner-up (-9/855) with three individuals in the top-10.
At the 2012 U.S. Intercollegiate, Oregon, USC and Stanford rounded out the top-three. All three will be back in action this season.
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE
The Hawkeyes have the 19th-ranked strength of schedule in the nation, according to Golfweek.com.
Every player on the roster has seen action in at least one tournament this season. Four players played all 15 rounds (Ihm, Vandersee, Bullington, Marks), while Winslow played 12. Freshman Landon Kowalski made his collegiate debut at the season-opening Golden Gopher Invitational. Each freshman (Kowalski, Aussarassakorn, Yankovich) competed individually at the Earl Yestingsmeier Invitational in Ball State as well.
A PROGRAM ON THE RISE
Under head coach Mark Hankins, the Hawkeyes are a program heading in the right direction. Iowa has advanced to NCAA postseason play in four consecutive seasons. The Hawkeyes have also reached the NCAA Championships three of the past four seasons — one of just 22 teams in the nation to do so. Iowa has won eight tournaments since 2008, had seven individual medalists since 2009 and has had three All-Americans since 2008.
HEAD COACH Mark Hankins
Head coach Mark Hankins enters his sixth season as head coach. Under Hankins’ guidance, Iowa has advanced to NCAA postseason competition the past four seasons. The Hawkeyes have advanced to three NCAA Championships in the past four years — one of just 22 teams in the nation to do so. Iowa was ranked 155th when Hankins took over the program in 2008, yet the Hawkeyes have been consistently ranked within the top-50 for the past three years. Hankins is a native of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, and a graduate of Iowa State.
The Hawkeyes return to play April 13-14, hosting the 20th annual Hawkeye-Great River Entertainment Invitational at the Finkbine Golf Course in Iowa City.