COLUMBIA, Missouri — The University of Iowa men’s golf team shot a four-under par 284 in the third and final round of the NCAA Columbia Regional on Saturday, but it wasn’t enough for the Hawkeyes to advance to the NCAA Championships. Iowa finished ninth in the event with a 54-hole total of 869 (+5).
Top-seed Oklahoma State won the regional with a score of 831 (-33), followed by Arkansas (836), Missouri (837), Iowa State (849) and LSU (849), Arizona State (858), Virginia (864) and San Diego State (866). The top five teams advance to the NCAA Championships.
“We didn’t get off to a real smooth start,” said UI head coach Mark Hankins. “We again got on a little roll in the middle of the round, but lost it on a few double bogies on the back nine. Overall, we didn’t play well enough this week. We were unable to capitalize on some wedges we had into the short par fours. Hopefully, our younger guys learn from it moving forward.
“We will miss Steven (Ihm) dearly, but we have to re-group and get ready for next year. We had a really solid year, ranked in the 32 to 35 range nationally. It is one tournament; if we do not play well, we do not advance. It hurts a little right now, but when we start looking at our season in general, a couple tournament victories, other top finishes; we played really well, but could not get it done this week.”
Freshman Carson Schaake led Iowa over the final 18 holes with a two-under-par 70. Senior Steven Ihm and freshman Raymond Knoll both shot 71, while junior Brian Bullington shot even par and junior Ian Vandersee recorded a 79 (+7). For the tournament, Knoll shot even par (216), followed by Ihm (217), Schaake (218), Bullington (221) and Vandersee (232).
Schaake recorded nine pars to start his day before getting under par with a birdie on his 10th hole. He was back at even through 13 holes before collecting birdies on three of his next four holes. He finished the day with a bogey on the par five final hole for his low score of the tournament and his lowest 18 hole score of the season.
“We played solid today,” said Schaake. “I was confident coming into today. Coach and I worked on some wedges yesterday after the round, and it really worked out today.”
Ihm collected his first birdie of the day with a short put on his fifth hole to get back to even par. He added birdies on the par three 16th and par four 18th to shoot 34 on his opening nine. He added eight pars and one bogey on his final nine holes to post a 71, his low total of the tournament.
“It was a little frustrating,” said senior Steven Ihm, about his final round as a Hawkeye. “I was hitting it pretty well all day and was in position to make a number of birdies, but could not make the putts. It has been a fun year, and a great three years at Iowa. I am really glad I have had the opportunity to be a Hawkeye.”
Knoll was two over par through seven holes before collecting three straight birdies to get to one under with eight to play. He added two birdies and two bogies over the final eight holes, including a tap-in birdie on the closing hole to record his lowest 18 hole score of the tournament.
“I was giving myself looks at birdie, but I didn’t make a lot of them,” said Knoll. “Overall, I just played really steady, a lot of pars and not many mistakes. It’s definitely been one of the most fun years of golf I have ever had. The guys are great, coach Hankins has been awesome, and the parents all get along really well. It has been an incredible year and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.”
Bullington shot even par for his low round of the event. He was three over par after six holes before his initial birdie of the day on the par four 17th hole. After a par on 18 he collected three straight birdies to start his back nine. From there a double bogey on the fifth hole and a birdie on eight left him at even par for the day.
Vandersee shot 38 on his first nine holes, which included birdies on 16 and 17. His back nine included a pair of double bogies due to errant tee shots. His solo birdie on the back nine came on the fifth hole.
Iowa competed in NCAA Regional competition this season for the sixth-straight year, joining Illinois and Northwestern as the only Big Ten programs to compete in regional play in each of the last six seasons.