Iowa Hosts 21st Hawkeye-GRE Invitational

April 9, 2014

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The University of Iowa men’s golf team hosts the 21st Hawkeye-Great River Entertainment Invitational at Finkbine Golf Course in Iowa City, Iowa, on April 12-13. The 54-hole tournament will begin on Saturday at 9 a.m. with a shotgun start. Participants will play 36 holes Saturday and 18 holes Sunday.

The 12-team field includes Iowa, Washington State, Kansas, Iowa State, Michigan State, Minnesota, Denver, Wisconsin, Marquette, Northern Illinois, DePaul, and Nebraska.

The 7,239-yard, par-72 Finkbine Golf Course is prized by the University and Iowa City community alike. A tremendous test of skill, Finkbine was the site of the Amana VIP Pro-Am for more than 20 years, featuring the PGA’s finest, as well as national and local celebrities. In 1991, Finkbine became the host of the Ben Hogan Tour – Hawkeye Open. Collegiately, Finkbine has been the site for the 1992 and 2002 Men’s Big Ten Championships, the Hawkeye Intercollegiate and the Big Four Invitational.

Steven Ihm, Ian Vandersee, Brian Bullington, Raymond Knoll and Carson Schaake make up Iowa’s varsity lineup. Nate Yankovich, Ryan Marks and Voramate Aussarassakorn will compete as individuals.

Iowa finished runner-up in the 2013 version of the Hawkeye-Great River Entertainment Invitational, as Steven Ihm took home the individual title. The Hawkeyes finished one stroke behind tournament champion Kansas. In 2012, Iowa captured the title behind a runner-up individual finish from Chris Brant. Ian Vandersee led the field with 16 birdies in three rounds of play. The Hawkeyes won the 2011 event behind Vince India, who earned medalist honors. Iowa dominated the 2010 event, winning the title by 12 strokes. Barrett Kelpin and Chris Brant tied for fourth individually.

The University of Iowa men’s golf team carded an 837 (-15) at the Thunderbird Invitational to finish runner-up to tournament host Arizona State. The Hawkeyes rode a career-best performance by Brian Bullington to their best finish of the season, as Bullington posted a 206 (-7) to finish third individually. Steven Ihm tied for fourth individually behind a 207 (-6) performance, the best 54-hole score of his career.

Brian Bullington was named the Big Ten Conference Golfer of the Week on March 26 following his career-best performance at the ASU Thunderbird Invitational. The award is the first of Bullington’s career. Steven Ihm garnered Iowa’s last weekly honor on October 30, 2013.

Since taking command of the University of Iowa men’s golf program in 2007, head coach Mark Hankins has established the Hawkeyes as a competitive force in collegiate golf. Iowa has advanced to NCAA Regionals each of the past five seasons, and has advanced to the NCAA Finals three of the last five seasons.

All eight golfers on the Hawkeye roster have made appearances thus far in the 2013-14 season, including two freshmen, Raymond Knoll and Carson Schaake.

Senior Steven Ihm joined elite company as he won the 60th Annual Sunnehanna Amateur on June 16th. PGA TOUR professionals such as Rickie Fowler, Webb Simpson, and Lucas Glover won the same event early in their careers. The Peosta, Iowa, native shot an eight-under par (272) for the four-round tournament, winning by two strokes over Cory Whitsett of Alabama. A month later, Ihm earned a sponsor’s exemption to the John Deere Classic, making his first career PGA TOUR appearance. The senior birdied his first hole of the tournament, and is believed to be the first UI golfer to earn a sponsor’s exemption to the Silvis, Ill., tournament.

Iowa captured two tournament championships in 2013, and has successfully defended one of its titles this spring with a third consecutive crown at the Big Four Championships on March 1. The Hawkeyes won the Big Four Championships in Chandler, Ariz., in February 2013, with five players going 2-0 in match play. Iowa beat Drake, 6-0, in the first round and defeated Iowa State, 5-1, in the final round to take the title. It again bested Drake and Iowa State in 2014 by scores of 6-0 and 3.5-2.5, respectively, to retain the title. Iowa’s second title came at the Boilermaker Invitational in West Lafayette, Ind., tying for first place out of 18 teams. Senior Steven Ihm earned co-medalist honors just one week after medaling at the Hawkeye-Great River Entertainment Invitational in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes will travel to the 2014 Boilermaker Invitational on April 19-20.

Iowa has won eleven tournaments since 2008, had twelve individual medalists since 2009 and has had three All-Americans since 2008. Last season, senior Steven Ihm and junior Joseph Winslow became the 11th and 12th Iowa players to be named to the all-regional team since 2009.

HEAD COACH Mark Hankins
Head coach Mark Hankins is in his seventh season as head coach. He has guided the Hawkeyes to five straight NCAA Regional appearances, and to the NCAA Finals three times in the past five years. Iowa was ranked 155th when Hankins took over the program in 2008, yet the Hawkeyes have been consistently ranked within the top-60 for the past five years. Hankins is a native of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.

Following the Hawkeye-Great River Entertainment Invitational, Iowa will travel to West Lafayette, Ind., to defend its 2013 title of the Boilermaker Invitational on April 19-20.