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Men’s golf team closes fall season with fourth-straight tournament victory

BY BEN WOLFSON | NOVEMBER 03, 2010 7:30 AM

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Now that the off-season is officially under way for the Iowa men’s golf team, the first order of business for head coach Mark Hankins should be to get a new trophy case.

The Hawkeyes finished an unprecedented stretch in team history by closing out their fall season in Dallas at the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate with a school record fourth-straight tournament win Tuesday.

Senior Vince India capped a masterful Monday performance in which he shot consecutive rounds of 66 (10-under) by finishing in first place.

He finished in the top-10 in all five of Iowa’s tournaments during the fall.

“My game came around in all areas this week,” India said. “This is the year I’ve been waiting for to finally get a win, and this means a lot to me.”

As the Hawkeyes began their final round Tuesday morning and teed off, stormy conditions loomed.

By the time the team had begun play on the first few holes, thunder was rolling in, and play was suspended because of severe rain.

“Things like that are out of our control,” Hopfinger said. “We were prepared to play, and we felt ready to go; things like this just show how important every round is.”

The teams took cover in the Royal Oaks clubhouse; tournament officials decided that the third round would be canceled and Tuesday’s scores were wiped out, giving Iowa the win by default.

“I definitely would’ve liked to finish that out; we have the confidence on our side,” India said. “I feel like we would’ve beat everyone hands down.”

Fellow senior Brad Hopfinger celebrated his third-consecutive top-10 finish. His seven birdies — and an eagle — earned him a share of seventh place with a total score of 137 (5-under). Juniors Chris Brant and Barrett Kelpin both carded a 36-hole total of 141, and Brad George posted rounds of 76 and 74.

Iowa got out to a blazing start on Monday and led the 12-team field after battling defending tournament champion Texas A&M. The Hawkeyes finished with a total score of 551 (17-under) after 36 holes, and the Aggies ended up finishing second with a total score of 556. Arkansas rounded out the top three after carding 564. Tournament host Baylor ended up with a disappointing ninth-place finish as they shot 576.

Despite having a three-week layoff and enduring cold practice conditions in Iowa City, the squad remained resilient while facing a field that featured four teams ranked in the top-20 in the country.

Iowa’s preparation and focus was the key in achieving so much in the fall season. After starting off the year with a disappointing sixth-place finish at the Golden Gopher Invitational in Minneapolis, the Hawkeyes rattled off a remarkable four tournament wins in a row.

“I think we’ve done a really good job at keeping it one tournament at a time, and it feels good to win this tournament more than anything,” Hankins said. “We know preparation is the key to winning championships, and I believe we’ve won each of these tournaments because of our team depth.”

The team will savor this victory and begin off-season conditioning to prepare for the spring season beginning in February.

“Winning doesn’t come by too often, and we’ve all worked really hard to have a fall season and a stretch like this,” Hopfinger said. “Our hard work has paid off.”


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