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Hawkeyes Ready for Regionals After Lengthy Layoff

BY KYLE MANN | MAY 14, 2015 5:00 AM

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It’s been two weeks since the Iowa men’s golf team played at the Big Ten Championships in Newburgh, Indiana, but individual Big Ten champion Carson Schaake and the Hawkeyes have been eagerly awaiting this weekend’s NCAA Regional at Yale.

After they finished second as a team the Big Tens, the Hawkeyes were in high spirits as they awaited their next tournament.

“I’m really excited for regionals,” Schaake said. “I feel like the guys are playing really well, and I think our confidence is pretty high right now. I think if we can play some solid golf, we’ll be right in there.”

Now that Schaake has gotten a taste of victory, however, he’s relentlessly in pursuit of more.
“Our goal really is to go in there and win,” he said, “We don’t care about top five.”

As the home stretch of the season coincides with the wrapping up of the school year, Iowa’s golfers have largely only had two things on their mind for the last several weeks: finals and practice.

“We got caught up on school a little bit and will have to make sure our finals are done,” senior Brian Bullington said. “Honestly, other than that, we just practice and play. Nothing really changes; we just have to keep doing what we’ve been doing all year.”

When Iowa gets on the course in New Haven, they will seek to finish better than their performance in last year’s regional tournament in Columbia. The Hawkeyes were paced by Raymond Knoll — who finished 38th individually — and finished ninth as a team.

The Hawkeyes are seeded seventh in their bracket this year, with (nationally) No. 5 Vanderbilt, No. 7 LSU, No. 16 South Florida, No. 20 Oklahoma State, No. 29 Arkansas, and No. 33 San Diego State seeded above them. Should the Hawkeyes finish in the top five, they will advance to the NCAA Finals in Bradenton, Florida. Top-performing individuals from non-qualifying teams will also advance.

Leading into the do-or-die portion of the season, Bullington admitted that the two-and-a-half week layoff is less than ideal.

“It’s a little bit bothersome just because after playing in Big Tens, you’re in the zone,” Bullington said. “But at the same time, we just went 36 holes, 18 holes, and 18 holes over the weekend. Mentally and physically it’s exhausting, so it is nice to be able to recuperate.”

Schaake and Bullington will be joined in the Hawkeye lineup this weekend by senior Ian Vandersee, sophomore Knoll, and freshman Sam Meuret.

Although the team has had a lot of time on its own as the players take care of finals, head coach Tyler Stith isn’t concerned by a potential lack of focus.

“Everyone is so excited about the opportunity to play at regionals and advance to the NCAAs, I’m not worried about them losing focus at all,” Stith said. “This is the time of year they’ve looked forward to.”

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


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