Transfer Dirksen looks to make impact for Hawkeye golf


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The phrase “the third time’s the charm” certainly applies in the case of junior golfer Jed Dirksen. He enters the spring season eligible to compete for the No. 12 Iowa men’s golf team after making stops at Arizona State his freshman year and Central Florida last year.

The Hawkeyes hope Dirksen can have an immediate effect when they travel to Scottsdale, Ariz., this weekend to compete in the Big Four Match-Play Challenge. Play begins Saturday.

Originally from Hampton, Iowa, Dirksen attended Hampton-Dumont in high school, except for a period during his junior year when he transferred to Westminster Christian School in Miami.

“It was entirely golf-related for me to go to [school] in Miami,” Dirksen said. “I wanted to take my game to the next level and play during the winter.”

Dirksen then came back to Hampton so he was able to graduate with his friends before heading to Tempe, Ariz., to join the Arizona State golf team.

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He had a successful freshman season for the Sun Devils in 2007-08, making made four appearances with the team, including two top-five finishes.

He wanted an opportunity for more playing time and ended up transferring across the country to Orlando to compete for Central Florida. He competed in five events during his sophomore campaign and helped the Knights claim the Conference USA championship before his season was derailed by injuries.

Bulging discs in Dirksen’s back left him unable to play during the 2010 spring season.

Iowa head coach Mark Hankins said Dirksen was able to get a release to speak to the Iowa team.

“[Jed] had to become eligible under Iowa, Big Ten and NCAA standards,” Hankins said. “He’s an extremely competitive player … He worked hard this fall, and now he worked his way onto the first travel squad.”

Dirksen’s reasons for transferring to Iowa were health-related, but said that after taking part in the squad’s strength and conditioning regimen that this is “the best I’ve felt health-wise since high school.”

The men’s golf team established itself as a national contender during the fall season after winning four tournaments in a row — the most by a Division-1 program during that time.

Senior Vince India, who competed with Dirksen at the U.S. Amateur this past summer, said Dirksen could have an immediate effect on the team.

“[Jed] definitely has the ability to crack the [starting lineup],” India said. “I’d be really surprised if he doesn’t step in right away and play for us.”

While Iowa traveled with only with five players during the 2010 fall season — India, senior Brad Hopfinger, and juniors Barrett Kelpin, Chris Brant, and Brad George — that will change: Hankins will bring Dirksen along this weekend.

“[Jed] is definitely playing as good as anybody; he’s always been pretty consistent,” Kelpin said. “If we can get him in the lineup [this spring] and he plays how he has been, he should be a nice addition.”

“I’m not worried about being in the lineup, I just want to play the golf I know I can play,” Dirksen said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity [to compete at Iowa], we’ve got not just a shot at nationals but winning nationals, and I’m going to give everything I got to that cause.”

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