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Men's golf in fourth after rainy day

BY BEN SCHUFF | SEPTEMBER 27, 2011 7:20 AM

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BURLINGTON — Monday morning and afternoon at Spirit Hollow Golf Course were downright ugly.

The Sun never appeared, gusts of wind up to 25 mph blew through the course, and rain fell all day.

By the end of the second round, the Hawkeyes had fallen, too — down the team leaderboard.

The Iowa men's golf team finished day two of the Golfweek Conference Challenge in fourth place at 1-over, but Iowa's descent came after the team spent a significant amount of time either tied or in sole possession of first place.

Chattanooga capitalized, and the Mocs are in first heading into the last day of the tournament today.

The five Black and Gold golfers collectively shot even-par on the front nine, but the treacherous back nine eventually caught up with head coach Mark Hankins' squad. The Hawkeyes were 15-over on the back nine.

"The back nine is much more demanding," said senior Chris Brant, who carded a 1-over 73 and is now tied for seventh. "I felt like the conditions got worse as we turned. As we progressed through our round, the conditions definitely deteriorated."

Hawkeye sophomore Steven Ihm had similar feelings about holes 10-18.

"The back nine is just tough," he said. "Especially with the wind, [holes] 13 and 14, you couldn't miss your drive by more than 15 yards."

Brant described the playing conditions as "exasperating." Fellow senior Barrett Kelpin said the conditions were probably "as tough as conditions could get on this golf course."

The scores reflected that as a result. As a team, the Hawkeyes went from shooting 5-under on Sunday to 6-over on Monday. All five Black and Gold golfers shot higher scores than they did on day one.

Iowa wasn't the only team struggling. Of the 75-player field, 56 golfers — almost 75 percent — posted higher scores than they did in round one. Ball State and New Mexico State were the only teams to post lower team scores on day two than on day one.

"It was crappy all day," Ihm said. "It was windy, rainy, and cold — all at the same time. It was just grueling. It was a seven-and-a-half-hour round almost, so it was just tough to put up with."

He put up with the weather as well as any Iowa golfer. The Indian Hills transfer fired an even-par round, recording three birdies and three bogeys.

"The into-the-wind holes were just brutal," he said. "The downwind holes, you were able to score on some of those — so you had to take advantage of them when you had them."

Others didn't fare so well. Sunday's hero-of-sorts, Brad George, posted a team-high score of 12-over 84 with one eagle, one birdie, seven bogeys, a double bogey, and an 11 on the par-5 fourth hole.

Redshirt freshman Ian Vandersee and senior Barrett Kelpin let potential lower scores go awry at the end of their rounds. Vandersee was on pace to repeat his round one score of 1-over until he double-bogeyed the 18th hole to finish at 3-over 75.

Kelpin started the day hot by birdying three of his first five holes. But a triple bogey on the par-4 13th and a double bogey on the par-4 17th led to 2-over 74.

"Guys battled through it pretty well," Hankins said. "I think the guys shot a pretty good score out there. We dropped a couple shots on the last holes, but other than that I'm pretty happy with how we played."

The tournament's final round begins at 8:30 a.m. today in a shotgun start.


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