Men's golf finishes fifth at U.S. Collegiate Championships

BY DI STAFF | OCTOBER 26, 2011 7:20 AM

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Tuesday was a day of accomplishing goals for the Iowa men's golf team.

The Hawkeyes finished in a tie for fifth place at the U.S. Collegiate Championship in Alpharetta, Ga. Iowa finished the three-day tournament at 4-over 868, 16 strokes behind winner UCLA.

Iowa head coach Mark Hankins said before the tournament that a top-five finish was his hope, and that's what his squad delivered in a highly competitive field. Eleven of the 14 teams in the tourney were ranked in Golfstat.com's top 30.

"You got to have depth," Hankins said. "You got to have five guys putting up scores every round, not just one round. The last few tournaments, we haven't had support from that No. 4 and No. 5 guy."

That changed for the Hawkeyes on Tuesday. Three Iowa golfers posted scores below par, and the team's highest score was Chris Brant's 2-over 74.

Hankins said one of the team's goals at every tournament is to continually improve its score from the first round to the final round. For the first time this fall, the Hawkeyes did just that — they posted a score of 293 in the first round, 291 in the second round, and 284 in the third round.

Iowa's final-round score of 4-under was the first subpar round for the team this year. It was also the second-lowest score on Tuesday; UCLA shot 5-under.

Sophomore Steven Ihm led the Black and Gold at the tournament, tying for eighth at 3-under for the tournament.

Ihm was able to make the most of the par-5s on the Lakeside Course at the Golf Club of Georgia. The first-year Hawkeye birdied three of the four par-5s on Tuesday.

Joining Ihm in the top 10 was senior Barrett Kelpin, who tied for 10th at 2-under, posting rounds of even-par, 1-under, and 1-under.

Iowa's next and final tournament of the fall season will be the Baylor Intercollegiate in Dallas on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.

— by Ben Schuff

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