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Iowa men's golf to finish season at Baylor Intercollegiate

BY TOMMY REINKING | OCTOBER 29, 2012 6:30 AM

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The Iowa men’s golf team was far from pleased after its last tournament.

The Hawkeyes finished in 15th place out of 15 teams in the U.S. Collegiate Championship in Atlanta, Ga., on Oct. 21. It was easily the team’s worst performance of the season.

The squad has one more chance this fall to prove to itself, however, in the Baylor Intercollegiate in Dallas, Texas. The tournament will consist of three rounds, played over the course of today and tomorrow.

“We were pretty mad after last week,” sophomore Joseph Winslow said. “We were more competitively minded this week. We grinded and fine tuned everything.”

The Hawkeyes will send the same five golfers to the Baylor Intercollegiate as they sent to the team’s last two tournaments. As usual for the players this season, golfers had to qualify into the starting lineup during weekly practice.

“The best way to prepare for competition is with more competition,” head coach Mark Hankins said. “We had four guys trying for three spots. They have to earn their way back out there and show that they can do their best to compete.”

Iowa opened the season with a 10th place finish in the Golden Gopher Invite and followed it with a 4th place finish in the Golfweek Conference Challenge. After a three and a half week break from action, the Hawkeyes kept the momentum up with a 5th place finish in the Rod Myers Invitational before the disastrous outing in the U.S. Collegiate Championship.

Having the same athletes compete week in and week out is the one constant the Hawkeyes have had recently. Junior Ryan Marks said having the same lineup has been a positive for the team.

“We work well together,” he said. “We’ve all played together and we all know the routine by now. It builds a comfort level.”

The Hawkeyes might be struggling because they are so young. The Hawkeyes have no seniors, two juniors, three sophomores, and three freshmen. Most of the golfers hadn’t had a full year of Division-I tournament experience heading into this season.

Hankins said having a familiarity is something the Black and Gold is slowly building, and something that will eventually become a strength to the squad.

“We’re still looking to build our experience as a team,” Hankins said. “Every tournament you learn something new. That makes us better week to week. Unfortunately, we just haven’t had that consistency that we need yet.”

A consistent Steven Ihm will likely lead the Hawkeyes again. He’s finished with the lowest individual score for Iowa in every tournament this season.

Winslow and Marks will each be looking for a personal bounce back tournament after having less than spectacular tournaments in the U.S. Collegiate Championship.

Winslow finished tied for 74th individually out of 79 players with a three round total of 21-over. Marks carded a 20-over and tied for 71st.

“That tournament exposed what we need to work on,” Marks said. “When our game is a little off, it shows. We’ve had a good week of practice and we’ll be in the mindset we need to be in.”

Sophomores Ian Vandersee and Brian Bullington will round out the Iowa lineup that Hankins hopes will find the breakthrough he’s been looking for this season.

“We have the potential to have five good scores each round,” he said. “We just need to figure out how to become that consistent. Whether it’s a hard course or an easy course, the better individual scores turn into better team scores.”


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