Men's golf can't overcome poor second round, finish ninth


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Iowa played average golf at the Royal Oaks Invitational in Dallas the past two days.

In return, the Hawkeyes got average results.

Iowa finished the Royal Oaks Invitational on Tuesday tied with Tulsa for ninth, posting a score of 11-over 863. The Black and Gold placed one stroke behind both Lamar and Houston, which tied for seventh in the 14-team field.

The average 18-hole score over the three rounds played at the par 71 Royal Oaks Country Club was 72.52. The average score for Iowa's five golfers was 72.47.

Iowa head coach Mark Hankins said the team's poor second round prevented it from finishing higher overall, especially after the Hawkeyes got off to a good start in the first round.

"About midway through the second round, I just feel like we got impatient," Hankins said. "I don't know if we got fatigued, or we just got frustrated with not making enough birdies, or what. But we made some poor choices down the stretch [in the second round], and it basically cost us most of the tournament."

Hankins' squad was tied for second following the first round on Monday morning.

But after a less-than-stellar second round score of 11-over, the Hawkeyes ended day one in 10th.

"We were playing with a Texas A&M team that was playing very well, and I think the guys kind of just got out of their own zone and let their surroundings affect them a little bit," Hankins said. "We had a good round in the morning, especially from Barrett [Kelpin], but [Monday] afternoon, it was just the opposite extreme.

"[We] probably played about as poorly as we could play."

Kelpin was a highlight of the Hawkeyes' play in Dallas, tying for 19th at 1-under 212 for the two-day event. The senior's first-round score of 4-under 67 was his best round of the fall; Kelpin birdied four holes and parred the other 15. He was also the only Hawkeye to post a subpar round in Dallas.

His play in the first round marked the first time this fall season in which Kelpin fired Iowa's low score at a tournament; he had been the team's second-lowest scorer at the previous four events.

Chris Brant was able to post a few decent rounds after struggling at the Rod Myers Invitational and the U.S. Collegiate Championship. Brant carded rounds of even-par, 1-over, and 2-over, tying for 30th.

"At times, I was good. I just didn't convert on a lot of opportunities this week that I had in front of me," Brant said. "I hit a lot of good shots close to the pin and didn't roll in enough putts."

Iowa's two other scorers were Ian Vandersee and Brad George, who ended play at 218 and tied for 43rd.

Vandersee shot two rounds of 1-over 72 and 3-over 74 in the second round. Part of the redshirt freshman's success in the final round was thanks to his birdies on all three of the course's par-5 holes.

"I've never been a short play off the tee, so being able to hit a fairly lengthy tee shot helped with the par-5s out there," he said. "My misses [with my driver] were in places that were very easy to manage from, so I was able to make birdies on the par-5s fairly easily."

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