Feb. 15, 2014
BRADENTON, Fla. - The University of Iowa men's golf team earned a fourth place finish at the Big Ten Match Play Championships on Saturday at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla.
The Hawkeyes began the day with a match versus Michigan, falling to the Wolverines by a score of 3.5-1.5. The loss pushed Iowa to a third-place matchup with Northwestern, who would edge the Hawkeyes, 3-2.
Freshman Raymond Knoll turned in a 2-1 record on Friday and Saturday, with his only loss coming in his semifinal match with Michigan's Noori Hyun, falling 3 & 2. Knoll would rebound in a match versus Northwestern's Andrew Whalen, winning 4 & 3. Knoll carded par in 11 of the 15 holes versus Whalen.
"The second match went a lot better than the first," said Knoll. "This was definitely a great challenge, especially for the first tournament of the year."
Senior Ryan Marks fell to Michigan's Bryce Evon early Saturday, 2 & 1. Marks and Evon were all square after hole 15, but Evon closed out the match with a par and a birdie to seal the victory.
Sophomore Nate Yankovich entered the lineup in Mark's place for the third place match, falling to Northwestern's Scott Smith. Smith earned a 1-up victory, overcoming Yankovich's four birdies in the round.
Junior Brian Bullington won his match with Michigan's Tom Swanson, 1-up. Bullington continued his hot streak by defeating Northwestern's Josh Jamieson in the afternoon, 2 & 1. Jamieson and Bullington were all square after the 15th hole, but Bullington pulled away with a birdie and par on holes 16 and 17.
"I felt like I played well for a majority of the time today," said Bullington. "There were a couple rough patches, but I was proud of the way I hung in there and was able to make a couple of clutch putts."
Senior Steven Ihm halved his semifinal match with Michigan's Brett McIntosh before dropping his match with Northwestern's Matthew Negri, 5 & 3. Ihm finished with a 1-1-1 record after his dominant first round victory over Ohio State's Frederik Hammer.
Junior Ian Vandersee fell to Michigan's Chris O'Neill early Saturday, 5 & 4. He would drop his match with Northwestern's Jack Perry later in the day, 4 & 2.
"I was really proud of Ray this afternoon, and Brian played well this entire week. We had a couple other guys battling out there until the last hole," said head coach Mark Hankins. "We can't let a couple losses get us down, because it's the first tournament of the year on a very challenging course. We were excited to be here and to finish in fourth place. We didn't overachieve, but we could've gotten a little more out of it had we hit a few more greens. Other than that, I think we played pretty well."
The Hawkeyes' will return to action on March 1 at The Big Four Championships in Scottsdale, Ariz., facing in-state rivals Drake, Iowa State and Northern Iowa in another match play event. Iowa will look to defend its' two consecutive titles at the event, which will be played at Desert Mountain.