March 31, 2016
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The University of Iowa men’s golf team continues its spring season with a trip to Tempe, Arizona, this weekend (April 2-April 3) for Arizona State’s annual ASU Thunderbird Invitational. The two-day, 54-hole tournament will be played at ASU’s Karsten Golf Course.
Friday, April 1 — Practice round starts at 9:30 a.m. (CT)
Saturday, April 2 — 36 holes, shotgun start at 9:30 a.m.
Sunday, April 3 — 18 holes, tee times starting at 9:30 a.m. off holes one and 10
FOLLOW THE ACTION
Fans can follow this weekend’s action by visiting golfstat.com for live scoring.
LINK UP WITH THE HAWKEYES
For an inside look at the Iowa men’s golf program and to access exclusive coverage, “like” Hawkeye men’s golf on Facebook and follow @IowaHawkeyeGolf on Twitter and Instagram.
Of the 13 teams competing at this weekend’s ASU Thunderbird Invitational, three teams are ranked in the top 25 of the GCAA Coaches Poll. Tournament host Arizona State is ranked seventh, followed by 15th-ranked California and 22nd-ranked San Diego State. The remaining 10 teams include Cal Poly, Hawaii, Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota, Princeton, San Diego, Santa Clara, South Dakota State, and UC Davis.
Playing as a par-70, 7,002 yard course, Arizona State’s Karsten Golf Course is a classic Pete Dye, links-style course and was awarded 4 1/2 stars by the prestigious Golf Digest Rating Panel. A well-maintained and challenging design, Karsten Golf Course has been host to prestigious events, such as both the men’s and women’s Pac-12 and NCAA Championships, PING Invitational, and the U.S. Open Qualifying.
At the top of the Hawkeye lineup in the number one spot is junior Raymond Knoll followed by fellow junior Carson Schaake. Senior Nate Yankovich, freshman Matthew Walker, and sophomore Sam Meuret round out the Iowa lineup. Freshman Aaron DeNucci will be competing as an individual.
This weekend marks only the third time in program history that the Hawkeyes will compete at the ASU Thunderbird Invitational since it began in 1973. In last year’s event, the Hawkeyes tied for fifth and were led by sophomores Raymond Knoll and Carson Schaake who each notched top 20 finishes after tying for 14th and 19th, respectively. Iowa finished as runner-up to tournament champion Arizona State in 2014, carding a team score of 837 (-15). Former Hawkeyes Brian Bullington and Steven Ihm were the top performers for Iowa, finishing in third and tying for fourth.
LAST TIME OUT
The Hawkeyes finished 12th at the Schenkel Invitational (March 18-20). Led by sophomores Carson Schaake and Raymond Knoll, Iowa carded an 856 (-8, 279, 290, 287), its second-lowest 54-hole score of the year. Schaake and Knoll tied for 37th after shooting two-under-par 214. 14th-ranked Vanderbilt won the three-day event after carding an 823 (-41; 274, 280, 269), the second-lowest team score in the 37-year history of the Schenkel Invitational.
WALKER, THE FRESHMAN
Matthew Walker has competed in every event for the Hawkeyes this season and is the first true freshman to compete in every fall tournament for the Hawkeyes since Cole Peevler in 2005. The Ottumwa, Iowa, native has competed in all seven events this season and is averaging 75.33 strokes per round (18). Walker’s best finish of the year came in the fall at the David Toms Intercollegiate, where he fired a three-round 228 (+12) to tie for 28th, while his best 54-hole score came at the Schenkel Invitational. He carded a 219 (+3; 75, 70, 74) at the three-day tournament. Walker fired a two-under-par 70 in the second round of the Schenkel Invitational, marking his lowest 18-hole score of the year.
OFF THE FIRST TEE
? Senior Nate Yankovich leads the Hawkeyes, averaging a career-best 72.50 strokes per round this season. Junior Carson Schaake finished with the second-best stroke average in program history last year (71.17)
? Junior Raymond Knoll has been Iowa’s top finisher two times this season, which includes his first collegiate title at the GolfWeek Conference Challenge.
? Iowa’s best finish of the season came at the GolfWeek Conference Challenge. The Hawkeyes took home the tournament title with a 54-hole 842 (-22) — the fifth best 54-hole score in program history.
? Iowa’s lowest round of the season came in the second round of the GolfWeek Conference Challenge (273; -15). Yankovich and Schaake both carded a six-under-par 66 to pace the Hawkeyes.
? Knoll, Schaake, and Yankovich are each tied with a team-best seven rounds of at or below par golf this season. As a team, the Hawkeyes have notched 27 rounds of at or below par golf this season.
A TEAM WITH DEPTH
This season, four Hawkeyes have combined for six top-10 individual finishes. Senior Nate Yankovich and junior Carson Schaake lead the team with two apiece. Yankovich’s best finish came at the GolfWeek Conference Challenge where he tied for fifth, while Schaake’s came at the David Toms Intercollegiate after tying for fourth. Junior Raymond Knoll — the GolfWeek Conference Challenge co-medalist — and sophomore Sam Meuret each notched one top-10 finish in the fall.
The Hawkeyes ended the fall season only competing in four events after the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate was canceled due to unplayable course conditions and potential flooding resulting from effects of Hurricane Patricia. The highlight of the fall came at Iowa’s own GolfWeek Conference Challenge, in which the Hawkeyes claimed the team title and junior Raymond Knoll earned co-medalist honors. As a team, the Hawkeyes averaged 75.25 strokes per round in the fall and tallied 15 rounds of at or below par golf. Junior Carson Schaake led the team with five, including a fourth place finish at the David Toms Intercollegiate.
A HISTORIC WEEKEND
The Hawkeyes claimed the team title at the 2015 GolfWeek Conference Challenge (Sept. 25-27), carding a 54-hole total of 842 (-22) — the fifth-best 54-hole score in program history. The title was the first for Iowa under the guidance of second-year head coach Tyler Stith, and first since winning the Hawkeye-GRE Invitational on April 13, 2014.
Junior Raymond Knoll claimed co-medalist honors with a 54-hole total of 205 (-11; 66, 67, 72) — the lowest three-round total in program history. The title was the first of Knoll’s collegiate career. Knoll’s performance at the GolfWeek Conference Challenge earned him Big Ten Co-Golfer of the Week honors on Sept. 30.
Senior Nate Yankovich and junior Carson Schaake each finished within the top 10. Yankovich tied for fifth place with a three-round 209 (-7; 73, 66, 70). His second-round 66 was the best 18-hole performance of his career. Schaake tied for seventh, finishing the weekend with a three-round 210 (-6; 73, 66, 71).
7 STRAIGHT NCAA APPEARANCES
Iowa has advanced to NCAA competition in each of the last seven seasons, joining Illinois as the only Big Ten teams selected to NCAA Regional competition in each of the last seven seasons. Iowa has advanced to the NCAA Championship finals three times in the last seven years (2009, 2011, 2012).
A PROGRAM ON THE RISE
Iowa has won 12 tournaments since 2008 and has had 15 individual medalists since 2009, including Carson Schaake, who was crowned individual co-champion at last year’s Big Ten Championships and Raymond Knoll who won this year’s GolfWeek Conference Challenge. The Hawkeyes have also had three All-Americans since 2008. Nineteen Iowa players have been named to the all-region team since 2009. Last season, Brian Bullington, Knoll, and Schaake each earned Division I PING All-Midwest Regional honors.
Following the ASU Thunderbird Invitational, the Hawkeyes take a week off before hosting the annual Hawkeye Invitational. The two-day, 54-hole tournament begins on April 16 at Finkbine Golf Course in Iowa City, Iowa.