April. 26, 2015
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NEWBURGH, Ind. — Sophomore Carson Schaake shined at the Big Ten Championships this weekend, sharing medalist honors with Illinois’ Nick Hardy, while leading the University of Iowa men’s golf team to a 2nd place finish Sunday at Victoria National Golf Club. Iowa has finished third or better at each of last the three conference tournaments.
Heading into Sunday’s final round, Iowa sat in third place behind fourth-ranked Illinois and Ohio State. A solid team performance on day three saw the Hawkeyes jump in front of the Buckeyes and grab a second place finish (1,170 (+18); 280, 289, 309, 292). Iowa’s final round performance at four strokes over par was the lowest of all 14 teams Sunday. Iowa also had the lowest first round total at 280. Four-of-five golfers from Illinois finished inside the top-10 individually, leading the Illini to a conference title at 14-under-par 1,138.
“Last night we talked about putting round three in the past,” said UI head coach Tyler Stith. “I asked them to win the day and they delivered. What they did out there today takes a lot of resiliency and I couldn’t be any more proud.”
It was a career weekend for Schaake. The Omaha, Nebraska, native, recorded the best 18-hole score of his career and the lowest round of the three-day event in Friday’s opening round with a seven-under-par 65, but he wasn’t finished there. Heading into Sunday’s final round, Schaake was in third place individually, trailing Illinois’ Nick Hardy by three strokes. It all came down to the final hole of the tournament after Schaake bogeyed hole 17, while Hardy parred, putting both players at five-under-par overall. Both would bogey hole 18 and share medalist honors with a 72-hole total of 284. Schaake’s individual title marks only the third time in program history an Iowa player won at the Big Ten Championships and the first since Brad Klapprott won in 1992. He is Iowa’s first medalist since Steven Ihm won the Boilermaker Invitational in 2014. Schaake also earned an automatic NCAA bid due to his fourth round score being lower than Hardy’s.
“Crowning a Big Ten Champion is very special,” said Stith. “I felt confident about Carson’s position heading into the final round. I told him not to focus on chasing Hardy because someone else might be going lower. He stayed patient and played his game. When the opportunity came on the back to win, he finished like a champion.”
Through 11 holes in Sunday’s final round, senior Ian Vandersee had recorded six birdies and was at four-under par. But a string of six bogey’s, including one double-bogey, pushed Vandersee to three-over before he notched one last birdie on hole 18 to finish two strokes over par. The West Des Moines, Iowa, native finished in a tie for 11th place at five-over-par, his best finish of the year, recording rounds of 67, 74, 78, and 74.
A native of Naperville, Illinois, sophomore Raymond Knoll finished tied for 26th individually. Knoll sat two strokes above par through nine holes before bogeying three holes on the back nine, putting him at five-over. He would go on to birdie hole 18 to finish Sunday’s final round with a 76.
Junior Brian Bullington saved his best round for last, notching five birdies on his way to a three-under-par 69, to finish tied for 13th individually, marking his best performance of the spring. Bullington was in 32nd place heading into Sunday’s final round after recording a 75, 74, and 76 in the first three rounds. His score on Sunday was the low round of the day among all golfers.
“Brian’s 69 was the best score of the day by two shots,” said Stith. “The course played tough today and he played a near flawless round of golf.”
Junior Nate Yankovich finished in a tie for 62nd place, recording rounds of 75, 78, 84, and 81.
Iowa, ranked 46th nationally, has advanced to NCAA competition in each of the last six seasons, joining Illinois and Northwestern as the only Big Ten teams selected to NCAA Regional competition in each of the last six seasons. Iowa has advanced to the NCAA Championship finals three times in the last six years. This year’s selection show will air on Golf Channel on May 4 at 9 a.m. (CT). NCAA Regional competition will take place at six sites on May 14-16