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Holmgren reaches goal

BY NICK VITTORE | OCTOBER 28, 2014 5:00 AM

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Freshman golfer Jack Holmgren has long anticipated playing for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Throughout his time being home-schooled and his time attending high school, he envisioned donning Black and Gold. On Oct. 11, years of commitment, sacrifice, and excellence paid off, as Holmgren made his career début at the Rod Myers Invitational.

A native of Corcoran, Minnesota, Holmgren signed with Iowa in the fall of last year. His accolades include three team state titles with Wayzata High School, a Minnesota Golf Association junior boys title, a PGA junior title, and a second-place finish individually his senior year. Holmgren attributes his success to practicing on a golf green and sand bunker in his backyard since he was 8.

“While my brothers and I were being home-schooled, my dad was ambitious enough to build a playing green in our yard,” he said.

The story doesn’t stop there. Ambitious to have more at their disposal, they successfully sought permission to build three greens, 10x10 each, in their neighbor’s back yard. These greens were best for approach shots.

“We had a good relationship with our neighbor, and we were able to build these greens 70, 80, and 90 yards away respectively,” Holmgren said.

After years of anticipation, Holmgren traveled east with the Hawkeyes and made his career debut at the Rod Myers Invitational in Durham, North Carolina. He shot 160 in two rounds, finishing tied for 67th. Even despite the pressure of a début performance, Holmgren improved by 2 strokes from the first round to the second.

“It was nerve-racking, but it was awesome,” he said. “I was disappointed that I didn’t perform the way I wanted to, but I definitely think it was a learning experience, and I’m definitely taking away positives from the tournament.”

The tournament and the season overall represent new challenges for the freshman. While Holmgren expressed he feels well acclimated to academic life in college, he admitted he is still adjusting to the golf aspect.

“You’re committing more time to the game in college compared with high school, and you may not get to play in as many tournaments as in high school, because you have to qualify for college tournaments, but it’s still worth it,” he said.

Holmgren failed to qualify for the upcoming Royal Oaks Intercollegiate, concluding his fall season. But he’s focused on returning to the course next spring.

As far as personal goals are concerned, he wants to improve from the tee and stay physically fit in order to return an improved player in the spring.

The Hawkeyes speak highly of Holmgren.

“Jack’s a great kid. He’s definitely Iowa golf material,” Brian Bullington said. “He’s a Midwest boy, he has a good sense of humor, and you can tell he is a hard worker.”

Holmgren’s skill has not gone unnoticed by his coach, either.

“Jack has an extremely bright future as a Hawkeye,” head coach Tyler Stith said. “I know he’s a very committed individual, and if he keeps doing what he’s doing, he will be on pace to develop even more.”

Being a Hawkeye is something Holmgren does not take for granted.

“I’m representing a great school,” he said. “I just want to go out there, and do the best I can for Iowa, and bring back a title. I can’t wait to go, and play another tournament, and try to play well for the Hawkeyes.”

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


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