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Men golfers looking for the click

BY JORDAN GARRETSON | MARCH 31, 2009 7:30 AM

As forecasts are climbing into the 40s and 50s with more regularity, spring has sprung.

But consistency in the second half of the season for the men’s golf team hasn’t arrived quite yet.

The Hawkeyes finished eighth in a field of 14 teams at this past weekend’s Spring Break Championship in Delray Beach, Fla. Winning the inaugural event was Illinois with a 54-hole team score of 847 (5 under); Iowa carded an 884 (32 over) to finish three strokes ahead of host Florida Atlantic.

While not spectacular, it was an improvement from a disappointing performance the previous weekend.

The Hawkeyes took 14th place at the 18-team EZ-GO Schenkel Invitational in Statesboro, Ga., on March 22. The subpar finish came largely as a result of Iowa’s first round showing on March 20, when the team struggled and posted a 302 (14 over). The team bounced back with second- and third-round scores of 294 and 293, but the bunker the Hawkeyes dug for themselves in the first round proved to be too much to overcome.

“We’re pleased with our progress from the [Schenkel Invitational] to this tournament finishing eighth,” Iowa head coach Mark Hankins said. “Obviously, we felt like we could have done better, but we did improve. That’s what we’re looking for.”

Perhaps the most notable performance at the individual level was the return to form of senior Cole Peevler. The Keokuk, Iowa, native finished in a tie for 14th place at the Spring Break Championship with a 54-hole score of 218 (5 over). This comes just one week after Peevler finished an uncharacteristic 68th place overall and fourth on the team at the Schenkel Invitational.

“Individually, I was a little better this week,” he said. “In the [Schenkel Invitational], I really struggled with my short game, and this week I improved on that a little bit. This week I hit the ball well and scored a lot better.”

Peevler isn’t the only one showing of signs of getting his game back on track. The rest of the team seems close to clicking at the level it was when Iowa took first in a tough 12-team field at the Landfall Tradition on Oct. 26 — Iowa’s last competition of the fall.

“Team depth just wasn’t there,” Hankins said. “You can kind of see different guys shot well different rounds.”

Peevler led the Hawkeyes while shooting 70 (1 under) in the first round before tying with freshman Brad George with an Iowa best 72 (1 over) in the second. Sophomore Vince India paced the team in the final round, shooting 72.

The Hawkeyes will have two weeks before competing again, in Columbus, Ohio, for the Kepler Invitational on April 11 and 12. Until then, the Hawkeyes will take advantage of a much-needed window to improve after competing on back-to-back weekends.

“I do believe we will benefit from having some time to qualify and compete within the team as well as practice on the areas we need to get better at,” Hankins said.

Confidence isn’t a problem for the golfers — they see the team consistency rising.

“Each one of us knows how good the other one is,” Peevler said. “It’s just a matter of time before we put together a good score, and it should show next week.”


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