Men’s golf continues action at Spring Break Invitational

BY JESSIE SMITH | MARCH 26, 2010 7:30 AM

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The Iowa men’s golf team returned from the Callaway Collegiate Match-Play Tournament in Arizona at 5 a.m. Wednesday.

The team then spent about 10 hours in Iowa City before heading to the airport to catch a plane to the second Spring Break Invitational in Boca Raton, Fla.

The event boasts a 16-team playing field with half of the competitors among the top-100 teams. The event will take place at the Gleneagles Country Club on the Legends Course, a 6,723-yard par 72.

The five Hawkeyes who traveled to Arizona will compete in the Florida tournament. Juniors Brad Hopfinger and Vince India and sophomores Brad George and Chris Brant are making their second appearance at the event.

Sophomore Barrett Kelpin is making his tournament début.

Iowa took eighth in the event and shot an 884 (plus-32) last year.

Head coach Mark Hankins hopes the familiarity with the tournament and courses will help the team perform better this time around.

“We definitely underachieved last year at this tournament,” Hankins said. “We showed signs of impatience and didn’t play the golf course very smart. I know we have improved in these areas since then, but we still have to go out and prove it — play the golf course and remain positive.”

The Hawkeyes have a chance to match up against six other Big Ten opponents this weekend, including last year’s tournament champion, No. 13 Illinois. No. 36 Michigan, Penn State, Ohio State, Minnesota, and Wisconsin will be in attendance as well.

The Florida trip marks Iowa’s switch to stroke-play for the first time this spring. Hopfinger said he does not think the switch will have a noticeable effect on the team.

“Getting back into stroke play might be a little different,” Hopfinger said. “We’ll have to remember what it’s like at first, but we should be able to adapt pretty easily.”

India noted the different mindset he takes when competing in this style of play versus match play.

“I try to have no expectations and kind of just go with what I have working that day,” India said. “I focus more on beating the course [in stroke play], not [beating] the other players or beating yourself up. It’s more about staying in the present of every hole.”

The Hawkeyes don’t see the busy schedule as a negative, either. After spending more than a week competing in Arizona, players said they are excited to jump right back into competition.

“I think some people sometimes consider us as a dark-horse team,” India said. “On paper, we’re not the best team out there, but we definitely know how to get it done. I think people are starting to realize that, which can only help us.”

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