Iowa golfers look to maintain momentum


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The Iowa men’s golf team will attempt to build on back-to-back top-five finishes in its last two tournaments when play starts in the U.S. Collegiate Championship at the Golf Club of Georgia in Atlanta today.

The Hawkeyes didn’t get much of a rest from tournament play — they returned from their last tournament, the Rod Myers Invitational, only five days ago.

“We just keep working at it,” junior Steven Ihm said. “We have a pretty good feel of where we’re at right now because we just came off of the tournament on Sunday, and I think that helps.”

The Collegiate Championship has been called “the Masters of college golf.” Unlike other events, in this 15-team tournament, the student-athletes are required to wear long pants, and each player gets a personal caddy for all three rounds.

With such a small window of time between tournaments, the Black and Gold had only two days of practice. Surprisingly, head coach Mark Hankins said this was a positive for the team.

“The greatest form of practice you can have is a tournament,” he said. “The best way to practice for a tournament is to compete. Then it’s fresh. We’re used to competing.”

One thing Iowa has been doing well lately is competing. After finishing 10th in the first tournament of the year, the Golden Gopher Invitational, the Hawks have found some consistency with a fourth-place finish in the Golfweek Conference Challenge and a fifth-place finish in the Rod Myers Invitational.

Junior Ryan Marks said maintaining momentum from tournament to tournament is easier for the Hawks when they participate in events back-to-back.

“It’s important to not only look at what we didn’t do well but what we did do well,” he said. “Then we can build on that and make that even stronger. If we want to play well, we have the ability to.”

Iowa will send the same five golfers to the Collegiate Championship as it sent to the Rod Myers Invitational last weekend.

Ihm will try to continue his successful season. The Peosta, Iowa, native has two top-10 finishes and has shot five rounds under par, the most on the team.

After not qualifying for the first tournament of the season, Joseph Winslow has become one of the more unstoppable players on the Hawkeyes roster. He had the third-most birdies of anyone in the field in both of the last two tournaments.

Sophomore Ian Vandersee set a new personal low 54-hole score in Iowa’s previous tournament, and he will try to repeat that success.

Hankins said the players have experienced success because they have done a good job of acclimating to the courses in recent tournaments.

“Every time you go to a tournament, it’s different. You have to adapt,” Hankins said. “If we do a good job of adapting to the golf course and the conditions that are given to us, then we will play close to our potential and can compete for championships.”

Marks and sophomore Brian Bullington will also take part in the event. They will attempt to continue the consistency that they have experienced in recent weeks.

Bullington had the sixth most pars in the Rod Myers invitational, and Marks had 15 pars or better in his last round of the same event.

“You can’t control whether you win or lose,” Hankins said. “But you can control whether you’re in contention, and that’s our goal. On the final day, we want to have a chance to win.”

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