Iowa men's golf heads back to the greens


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The Hawkeyes are finally done waiting.

The Iowa men’s golf team will head to Durham, N.C., to take part in the Rod Myers Invitational at the Duke University Golf Club Saturday through Oct. 14 after a three and a half week hiatus from match play.

Head coach Mark Hankins said he and the players are excited to start competing again.

“This is what college golf is about,” he said. “It’s not about practice. It’s about playing in competition. There are going to be some nerves. I’m sure I’ll be a little nervous, but what you have to do is learn how to use that to your advantage.”

The Black and Gold will have to be prepared start strong. The first day of the tournament will feature 36 holes of golf with the final 18 taking place on Oct. 14.

The competition in the event will be the toughest the Hawks have faced this year. Nine of the 11 teams in the tournament advanced to the NCAA regionals last season; four made it to the NCAA championships.

The time off gave the Iowa swingers ample opportunity to work their game up to a level where they’ll have the best chance to win against a high-quality field.

“Golf is an individual sport, so each guy had something different to work on,” Hankins said. “For some guys, it was physical preparation; for some, it was just getting in the proper amount of shape.”

The Hawkeyes will send juniors Steven Ihm and Ryan Marks, along with sophomores Joseph Winslow, Ian Vandersee, and Brian Bullington to the links as their starting five.

Iowa will look to Ihm to lead the team after he tied for second place in the Golfweek Conference Challenge on Sept. 16-19 with a three-round score of 7-under.

Winslow also has room to show that his first tournament of the season wasn’t a fluke. In the team’s last tournament he had the second best three-round score on the team and the second lowest single-round score despite being listed as the team’s number five golfer.

After a successful fourth-place finish out of 15 teams in the Golfweek Conference Challenge, Winslow saw the time for preparation in the past few weeks as a positive as opposed to a momentum breaker.

“Practice is good for the team,” he said. “We stayed competitive throughout practice. I think it was nice to get a break before having three tournaments in a row.”

The Hawkeyes will also be sending three golfers, freshman Landon Kowalski, Nate Yankovich, and Voramate Aussarassakorn, to compete individually in the Earl Yestingsmeier Invitational hosted by Ball State at the Delaware Country Club in Muncie, Ind., on Oct. 15-16.

That will be the first Division-I tournament for Aussarassakorn and Yankovich.

“It’s a great opportunity for them to compete in a Division-I tournament,” Hankins said. “They’ll be getting their first experience, and obviously, that’s very important to see what the expectations are and to see where they’re at.”

With a solid finish in the Rod Myers Invitational, Iowa would likely gain more national fame for the program.

Bullington said the team is in the perfect spot to show that they can not only compete, but also win.

“We’re in a good position,” he said. “Obviously, it’s a great opportunity to play some of the best teams in the country. It’s always great to get back into the competition.”

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