Golfers keep up successful play, take top-three finish

BY BEN WOLFSON | APRIL 04, 2011 7:20 AM

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The Iowa men’s golf team returned to medal play for the first time this spring and left Baton Rouge, La., with a third-place finish after carding 893 as a team.

Host Louisiana State won its own invitational with a team score of 886, and Chattanooga finished in second at 887.

“Our guys were pretty well-prepared for this week; we set a goal to finish in the top-five,” Iowa head coach Mark Hankins said. “We played very well and had a chance to win. It was a tough course that favored the team that was going to be patient and keep fighting and just hanging in there.”

Senior Vince India continued his personal success in medal-play tournaments. During the fall season, India placed in the top-five in every tournament and won two individual titles — the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate and the Golfweek Conference Challenge.

The Deerfield, Ill., native — ranked 11th in the country — fired a 54-hole total of 216 en route to a second-place finish.

“There are a lot of players out there making bad decisions,” Hankins said. “Besides a rare couple holes, Vince steered clear [of trouble].”

India ended up finishing the tournament with more rounds at or under par than any other player.
Hankins told hawkeyesports.com, “I thought Vince played extremely smart this week and displayed some of the best golf-course management he’s shown to date.”

Juniors Chris Brant and Barrett Kelpin had great weekends — they finished tied for 12th place overall with total scores of 225. Players were especially challenged during the final round Sunday, when strong winds affected play.

“As it got windier, the scores went up,” Hankins said.

Brant carded three birdies on the front nine but struggled on the back nine as he finished with a final round score of 76 (4 over).

Rounding out the rest of the team were senior Brad Hopfinger and junior Jed Dirksen. Hopfinger, who posted 76 and 73 in his first two rounds, struggled on Sunday. He carded an 80 and finished with a 54-hole total of 229. Dirksen finished in a tie for 35th place after putting together rounds of 78, 74, 81.

Iowa will now prepare for a rare home tournament; it will host the Hawkeye TaylorMade Invitational at Finkbine Golf Course April 16-17.

“We got off to a slow start, but our guys battled back and had a chance coming down the stretch,” Hankins told hawkeyesports.com. “It was a difficult golf course, and we will learn from this experience and work to improve going forward.”

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