Seniors Bullington, Vandersee lead Hawkeyes in 2014-15


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Brian Bullington and Ian Vandersee are two elite golf veterans who have experienced the ups and downs of the sport. But no season would mean more to the two than this one, in which Iowa’s two senior men’s golfers hope to lead the team and possibly earn a berth at the NCAA championship.

Bullington has left his mark on the program already, earning second-team All-Big Ten honors last season with a 73.14 stroke average. In the off-season ,he continued to earn impressive results, including at the Canadian Amateur, where he earned 13th-place and was tied for the lead after the first round.

“It was my first time playing outside of the United States,” the Frankfort, Illinois, native said. “I gained a valuable experience in the process.”

Vandersee, who is from West Des Moines, also earned second-team All-Big Ten honors last season, averaging 73.32 per round.

Last month, he tied for seventh at the Iowa Amateur. Despite shooting a 76 in the first round, he followed up with round scores of 71 and 71 in a three-round tournament, finishing at 2-over.

“I wish I had played a better first round,” he said. “But I’m still content with my play.” 

Regardless of what happens this season, Bullington and Vandersee have plenty of memories in their time as Hawkeyes. From triumphs to challenges, both have raised their games from elite levels to team leaders.

In a sport where a relatively easy course is hard to come by, Bullington and Vandersee agree that one course is the most difficult  they have played at in college: the Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Florida. Perhaps it’s no surprise that the course will host both the men’s and women’s NCAA championships this season.

“I remember playing Big Ten Match Play there,” Bullington recalled. “I’d have to pick that as the most difficult NCAA course I’ve played at.”

Three years have produced several memories both on and off of the golf course. Between Big Ten honors and a plethora of other honors, the memories make the game special.

Bullington’s favorite memories came from the road trips.  

“Between visiting different cities to playing different courses, I have a lot of memories from traveling,” he said.

Vandersee’s came on the final day of regional competition in the 2011-12 season, in which a strong performance advanced the Hawks to their most recent NCAA championship.

“I shot a 66 in the final round of regionals, which was the low round,” Vandersee said. “We were really proud of the seniors that year, and everyone was proud to be on this team.” 

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