TALLAHASSEE, Florida — The University of Iowa men’s golf team shot a team score of six-over-par 294 in the third and final round of the NCAA Southeast Regional here Saturday. The Hawkeyes placed 11th in the regional held at the Golden Eagle Golf and Country Club.
The Hawkeyes advanced to the NCAA Regional for the fifth straight year under head coach Mark Hankins, competing with a line-up of five underclassmen. Iowa advanced to the NCAA Championships in three of the last five seasons.
Nineteenth-ranked North Florida earned the team title with a 54-hole total of 830 (-34). No. 6 Washington placed second (833), No. 14 Florida State was third (836) and No. 7 Georgia Tech (849) fourth. Number 30 Oklahoma and South Florida tied for fifth (854). The Sooners won a playoff to advance to the NCAA Championships.
“Today we were focused on our individual goals with a few players looking for All Region and All-America honors today,” said Hankins. “As a team we wanted to shoot under par today and see if we could post the best score of the day. With a slight wind and tough pins we thought we could move up the leaderboard, but we didn’t finish what we started and left quite a few strokes out there again today.”
The Hawkeyes posted seven birdies and six bogeys on their first nine holes, posting a one-under team score at the turn. But from there Iowa had just one birdie on the second nine while posting the team score of six-over-par.
Junior Steven Ihm and sophomore Brian Bullington each posted an even round score of 72. Ihm had three birdies on his first nine, to go with a pair of bogeys. He posted par on eight holes on the second nine, with a single bogey leaving him at par for the day.
“Today I loosened my grip a little and swung freely, rather than being too tense,” said Ihm, who posted a 54-hole total of 219 (+3) to lead the Hawkeyes. “It worked out great; I had a lot of birdie putts today. I got a couple of them to fall and some just went over the edge and stayed out.”
“We had to stay patient and grind it out,” added Ihm. “This is the NCAA tournament, this is where championships are won and this is where you want to be at the end of the year. It was a great experience for the team. We wanted to have that top-five finish, but next year we’ll play a little better and get `em.”
Bullington had eight straight pars to open his day and closed his opening nine with a birdie on the par five ninth hold. He had a double bogey on his 12th hole, but followed that with a birdie, then closed his round with five straight pars. Bullington improved by two strokes in each of his three rounds.
Sophomore Joseph Winslow was just one over par through two rounds before struggling down the stretch on Saturday. After opening with a 37 on his front nine, Winslow shot 40 on the back for a 77. His total score for the regional was 222 (+6).
Freshman Nathan Yankovich was even after nine, recording two birdies and two bogeys. He had two bogeys to go with seven pars on the back to shoot 74 on the day and 224 (+8) in his first NCAA Regional.
Sophomore Ian Vandersee also shot 224 over the 54 holes, concluding with a 76 Saturday. For the third straight day, Vandersee began play with a birdie on his first hole, the par-four 10th. That marked his only birdie of the day as he suffered four bogeys on his back nine.
“Being really young and inexperienced, we were up and down throughout the season,” said Hankins. “We played some solid golf this spring, won a 18 team title at Purdue and yet some other events we were inconsistent, too emotional and let the moment get the best of us. Individually, we have some great performances to build on. Two All Big-Ten Conference performers in Steven and Joseph; three individual tournament medallists with Ian and Steven and some really low scoring averages.”
“Our goal every year is to compete against the best, reach the NCAA Regionals, and then go out and take advantage of your opportunity. Unfortunately this week we didn’t get it going and when we pressed it made it worse. They will learn from this week and be better individually and as a team next season.”
While most of the Hawkeyes will take a short break before starting their summer tournament schedule, Ihm is already looking ahead to his summer schedule. Ihm was recently granted a sponsor’s exemption to compete as an amateur in the John Deere Classic in the Quad Cites early in July.
“It’s going to be unbelievable, I’m so excited to be able to play there, in front of a home crowd,” said Ihm. “I am looking forward to it. It will be a great experience and I can’t wait. I may take a couple days off to relax from the season, but I’ll keep playing and practicing until my game is where I want it to be.”
Following are the final team standings, along with individual leaders and Iowa’s individual scores:
Final Team Results (Par 72)
1. North Florida 272-277-281 – – 830 (-34)
2. Washington 276-275-282 – – 833 (-31)
3. Florida State 277-276-283 – – 836 (-28)
4. Georgia Tech 280-284-285 – – 849 (-15)
5. *Oklahoma 284-281-289 – – 854 (-10)
South Florida 280-284-290 – – 854 (-10)
7. Oregon State 292-285-278 – – 855 (-9)
8. Oregon 280-282-294 – – 856 (-8)
9. North Carolina State 289-293-292 – – 874 (+10)
10. Wake Forest 284-296-298- – 878 (+14)
11. Iowa 299-290-294 – – 883 (+19)
12. San Diego 299-295-296 – – 890 (+26)
13. Loyola-Maryland 301-300-291 – – 892 (+28)
Final Individual Results (Top 4 + Iowa)
1. Cheng-Tsung Pan (Wash.) 67-67-67 – – 201 (-15)
T2. MJ Maguire (N. Florida) 65-68-71 – – 204 (-12)
Chase Seiffert (Fla. State) 66-68-70 – – 204 (-12)
Daniel Walker (Richmond) 68-67-69 – – 204 (-12)
T38. Steven Ihm (Iowa) 74-73-72 – – 219 (+3)
T52. Joseph Winslow (Iowa) 72-73-77 – – 222 (+6)
T52. Brian Bullington (Iowa) 76-74-72 – – 222 (+6)
T56. Ian Vandersee (Iowa) 77-71-76 – – 224 (+8)
T56. Nate Yankovich (Iowa) 77-73-74 – – 224 (+8)