ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The University of Iowa men’s golf team battled through tough weather conditions during second round play at NCAA Regionals in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Hawkeyes carded a 314 (+26) on Tuesday, and are currently tied for ninth at 616 (+40; 302, 314) heading into Wednesday’s final round.
“Today was a grind and a test of mental endurance,” said UI head coach Tyler Stith. “I’m proud of the way we fought. We have to continue to be patient and strong mentally. Pars are good under these conditions. We have to be prepared to fight for 18 holes tomorrow.”
Tuesday’s temperatures at the University of New Mexico’s Championship Golf Course reached the low 60’s, with wind blowing at 25 mph and gusts reaching over 35 mph.
None of the 14 competing teams shot below par in Tuesday’s second round, with the average individual score totaling 79.91 strokes. No. 14 Arizona State currently leads the field at 582 (+8; 286, 296). The Sun Devils’ eight-over-par 296 was the lowest score of the second round.
Rounding out the top five on the leaderboard are TCU (+21; 292, 305), No. 16 South Florida (+24; 289, 311), No. 6 USC (+26; 291, 311), and No. 25 Texas A&M (+27; 296, 307). The top five teams and the top individual not on a qualifying team advance to the NCAA Championships, held in Eugene, Oregon later this month.
Leading the way for the Hawkeyes in round two was junior Raymond Knoll. After starting the day with a triple bogey on the 10th hole, Knoll came roaring back, finishing the day at even par 72. The Naperville, Illinois, native carded four birdies on Tuesday, tying for the most birdies among all competitors in round two. Knoll’s second round performance pushed him 44 spots up the leaderboard into a tie for ninth at 149 (+5; 77, 72).
“Usually when I have a rough start, it sort of settles my nerves,” said Knoll. “Once I messed up early, I knew it was time to fight and make up that ground I had lost.
“Par is an unbelievable score today. Making as many pars as you can anytime is good, but especially on a day like today when the wind is up around 30 miles per hour and the greens and fairways are as firm as they were.”
Coach Stith praised Knoll’s second round performance.
“Raymond’s round is arguably the best performance the season,” said Stith. “He beat the average score today by eight strokes, and to make triple bogey on the first hole and finish at even par in today’s conditions is remarkable. It was a great display of character and mental fortitude.”
Carson Schaake sat one stroke over par heading into the turn on 18, but he would finish at six-over-par 78 after recording three bogeys and a double bogey on the front nine. The junior is tied for 20th at 152 (+8; 74, 78) heading into the final round.
Freshman Matthew Walker and senior Nate Yankovich each carded an 82 (+10) in Tuesday’s second round. Walker is tied for 48th at 157 (+13; 75, 82), while Yankovich tied for 52nd at 158 (+14; 76, 82).
Following rounds of 87 (+15) and 82 (+10), sophomore Sam Meuret currently sits in 72nd place, respectively. Meuret’s second round was highlighted by a birdie on 14 and an eagle on 18 — one of only four eagles total in round two.
“I hit a three wood up the left side into the left rough,” said Meuret when recalling his eagle on 18. “The wind was blowing pretty hard left to right and I had about 205 yards to the green. I hit a five iron out to the left and let the wind bring it back to about 18 feet, and I made the putt.”
The Hawkeyes return to the Championship Golf Course on Wednesday morning for a final round of 18. Tee times begin at 8:30 a.m. (CT) off the first and 10th tees. Live scoring is available at golfstat.com.