Iowa men’s golf finishes in top 10 at NCAA Championships

BY SETH ROBERTS | JUNE 06, 2011 7:20 AM

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The Iowa men’s golf team finished tied for 10th place at the NCAA championships last week in Stillwater, Okla. The final team score of 28 over (892) was good for the Hawkeyes’ highest finish at the tournament in school history.

Iowa was three strokes short of qualifying for match play competition, in large part because of a rough first day at Karsten Creek Golf Club on May 31. The Black and Gold were 16 over and tied for 21st after the first round but surged back into contention on June 1 and 2.

“We definitely put ourselves in a hole the first day,” head coach Mark Hankins said in a statement. “We did a better job staying in the present the rest of the tournament, and we battled hard [in the final round] to almost get the job done.”

Ultimately, though, the team needed three birdies on the final hole and wasn’t able to convert.

Still, senior-to-be Chris Brant said, the Hawkeyes have nothing to be ashamed of in a season in which they smashed school records and brought the program into national prominence.

“There were bright spots this week,” Brant, who finished tied for 20th individually, said in a statement. “We faced the best teams in the country right here and finished 10th.”

The tournament was also the swan song for graduating seniors Vince India and Brad Hopfinger, both of whom were first-team All-Big Ten selections this season. Hopfinger tied for 38th at 7 over (223), with a plus 5 in the final round, and India finished tied for 81st after shooting 228. The Deerfield, Ill., native — who was named the Big Ten Golfer of the Year in May — converted 11-straight pars in the third round to finish his final day with a 2-over 74.

“This was the best year of golf I’ve had in a long time,” he said in a statement. “It was also the best four years of golf, with a great team, the best coaches I’ve ever been around, and the best guys and friends I’ve ever been around.”

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