Hawkeyes to wrap up autumn season


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The Iowa Hawkeyes will play their final tournament of the autumn today and Tuesday in Dallas. Last year, the team finished tied for sixth with a score of 1,058. Steven Ihm was the low Hawkeye, finishing tied for 10th at 207 (6-under). Oklahoma State is the reigning champion, posting 1,029 in that tournament, and former Cowboy Kevin Dougherty is the reigning individual champion, shooting 202.

The field for this year’s tournament includes Michigan and Minnesota, in addition to Duke, Houston, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Southern Methodist, Texas Tech, Texas-Arlington, and host Baylor.

Hawkeye head coach Tyler Stith emphasized the importance of playing top-class opposition.
“We’re heading down to Texas to play on a good golf course and to play against a good field.”

The team feels well-prepared going into the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate, held at the Royal Oaks Country Club.

“The team just needs to remain consistent,” freshman Jack Holmgren said.

Stith says the players need to trust and believe in each other.

“We have to stay committed to all the things we’ve been working on,” he said. “Their games are starting to come together,”

Like other courses the Hawkeyes have played on this season, course modifications are in place at the Royal Oaks Country Club. Brian Bullington noted that new greens were put into place.

“The new greens will obviously affect how the ball is going to play, but we have experience at this course,” Bullington said. “I would say as long as you are able to control your ball from the tee and avoid the trees, you can definitely have a good number out there.”

There’s no doubting the high level of competition at this tournament. National runner up Oklahoma State, along with Southern Methodist, Houston, and Oklahoma, all qualified for the NCAA Tournament last year. In stroke play, the teams finished fourth, tied for seventh, 10th, and 16th respectively. By virtue of finishing in the top eight of stroke play, Oklahoma State joined Southern Methodist as the two teams from this tournament which reached the eight-team match-play finals, where Alabama beat Southern Methodist in the quarterfinals and Oklahoma State in the final.  

“The tournament provides a good field of teams, and that’s our goal: to play some of the best fields in the country when we can,” Stith said.

This marks the final tournament for the Hawkeyes until the Black and Gold Alumni Challenge at West Palm Beach, Florida, a one-day event on Feb. 7, 2015. They resume the season the week after that at the Big Ten Match Play Championship in Palm Coast, Florida from Feb. 15-16, 2015.

Including the Black and Gold Alumni Challenge, there are six events in the spring prior to the Big Ten championships.

Regardless of how Iowa closes out autumn, Stith has been proud of the team effort thus far.

“I think we’ve played pretty good golf but I still believe our best is yet to come,” Stith said. “We’ve definitely had a good start, and I think things will get even better in the spring.”

Follow @NickVittore on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa men’s golf team.

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