Men’s golf team travels to Louisiana State Invite

BY BEN WOLFSON | APRIL 01, 2011 7:20 AM

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After a successful ending to the men’s golf team’s last outing — which included three-straight match-play wins over Washington State, No. 3 Alabama, and No. 14 Georgia — the squad will focus on extending that momentum when it travels to Baton Rouge, La., to compete in the LSU Invitational.

The Hawkeyes head into the tournament as the highest ranked squad in the 12-team field, which features such familiar teams as Michigan, Minnesota, Penn State, and Iowa State.

“I think last week was the bright spot of the spring so far; we didn’t play that well the previous two events and that builds confidence in us,” junior Chris Brant said. “We know how we can play, I think that will help drawing on those experiences.”

One aspect of this tournament that differs from the previous three this spring is its format. While the Hawkeyes have exclusively competed in match-play tournaments so far, the LSU event is a medal-play tournament, which means scoring is determined by team scores.

Iowa won four of five tournaments in the fall using this format.

“This last week’s preparation will definitely help,” head coach Mark Hankins said. “Guys were under pressure a lot last week, and we’re hoping that carries over.”

Another difference between Iowa’s last tournament in Atlanta and the LSU Invitational is preparation. In Atlanta, the players were allowed to use golf carts all week during the tournament, but they will walk the course in Baton Rouge.

To prepare for this, practice this week at Finkbine has involved the players walking at least nine holes per day to loosen their legs for the total of 54 holes the team will walk this weekend.

“The key [for success in Baton Rouge] is preparation,” Hankins said. “If we prepare properly, we have the talent to hang and finish in that top five.”

Iowa’s starting lineup of seniors Vince India and Brad Hopfinger and with juniors Brant, Barrett Kelpin, and Jed Dirksen has gelled, and the guys are gearing up for a final push before the Big Ten championships.

“After our success in the fall [in medal play], I feel like we’ll be ready to go and play stroke-play again,” Kelpin said. “We all like playing against [other Big Ten teams] and sizing ourselves up as to what we expect for Big Tens …

“Ultimately, we want to win a Big Ten championships, and we want to beat the Big Ten schools by as much as we can.”

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