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Hawkeye golfer Brant searches for love of game

BY BEN SCHUFF | NOVEMBER 18, 2011 7:20 AM

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The fall golf season didn't end as Chris Brant envisioned.

He won the first tournament of his senior year, but his play gradually worsened after that.

He posted Iowa's high score at a pair of tournaments in October, tying for 42nd out of 63 at one event and finishing 62nd out of 74 at another. When asked to assess his play this fall, Brant was honest.

"Not well," he said. "I just don't think I had enough fun, and I put too much undue pressure on myself."

With the college fall season behind him, Brant will have the opportunity for fun and competition in El Paso, Texas, on Nov. 20-22 when he plays in the Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic. The event features putting and long-drive contests, along with a 54-hole tournament among 28 of college's best golfers. The putting and long drive contests will be on Nov. 20, followed by two rounds on Nov. 21 and a final round on Nov. 22 at the El Paso Country Club.

The event is considered to be one of the premier events in college golf, and 22 of the 28 golfers in the field have been honored as either All-Americans or honorable mention All-Americans.

Three weeks have passed since Iowa's final tournament of the fall, giving Brant some time off to refresh mentally. It's also given him time to fix some flaws in his swing. The 21-year-old watched video of his swing and described what he saw as "startling."

"It was just really out of whack," he said. "I had really gotten away from swinging on the correct plane I usually do."

Iowa head coach Mark Hankins said Brant will also break in a new set of irons — Titleist AP2s — when he tees off in El Paso.

Brant and Hankins agreed that an environment such as the one Brant will play in at the El Paso event will help the young golfer refocus on playing his game and having fun.

"It's a lot easier to have fun when you're playing well," Hankins said. "He just didn't hit the ball very well the last couple of weeks, so his fun went away."

The Tee Box

The Daily Iowan spoke with the El Paso Country Club's Director of Golf, Mark Pelletier, for a brief preview of the course.

The El Paso Country Club's course measures 6,781 yards and is a par 71.

Pelletier said the course is in great shape.

"They probably won't putt on better greens — ever," he said. "They'll really like the greens. They're fast and kind of hilly, so putting is a premium out here."

Pelletier said holes four, six, 10, and 18 could be particularly challenging for the event.

"No. 6 is a par four with water down the right side," he said. "It won't play real long for these guys, but they do have to keep their drive straight. It's a pretty tricky green with water over to the right and a ditch over the green.

"Our 18th hole is somewhat of a tricky little hole. It's got a fairway bunker out there and water around the green. Over the years, it's seen some choking."


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