April 14, 2013
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A furious final round comeback by the University of Iowa men's golf team fell one stroke short Sunday at the Hawkeyes-Great River Entertainment Invitational. The Hawkeyes carded the lowest round of the tournament (284/-4) to improve seven strokes on Kansas and distance the nearest team behind them by 12 strokes.
Despite Iowa's impressive late heroics and an individual title from junior Steven Ihm, the Hawkeyes finished one stroke short of a four-peat at Finkbine Golf Course. Iowa closed with a three-round total of 868 (+4), its third best tournament of the season, to place runner-up. The Jayhawks carded a 291 (+3) final round to survive Iowa's late rally and win the tournament with an 867 (+3).
Ihm won his first career Division I tournament with a five-under total to share medalist honors with Kansas' Chris Gilbert. The Peosta, Iowa, native tied Iowa's sixth best three-round score in program history with a 211 (-5). He played all three rounds of the tournament under par to notch his fourth top-20 finish of the season. Ihm is the 13th player to win the Hawkeye-Great River Entertainment Invitational for the Hawkeyes.
"Individually, our guys had a tremendous mindset going into the final round," said UI head coach Mark Hankins. "When you have to make up eight shots in one round, everyone has to play well. We ended up throwing out a 74, so that shows we had a good day."
Ihm -- who was a second team All-Big Ten selection last year in his first season at Iowa -- carded a one-under par, 71, final round. Calm and steady the entire way through, Ihm mixed in four birdies, three bogeys and 11 pars -- including a crucial par on the closing 18th hole -- to win the tournament. He had 16 birdies on the tournament, more than any other player in the 65-man field.
"It's so much fun coming down the stretch and fighting for every stroke," said Ihm. "It came down to one stroke in the end. I can think of a couple of shots that I could have taken back, but everyone can say that. The team really responded well today, and I'm proud of that. Even though we didn't come away with a win, we can carry this momentum into next week."
Ihm carded a pair of two-under rounds on Saturday to sit in third place entering the final round. He has played 11 rounds at or below par this season, including four of his last five. His team-leading stroke average has dropped to 72.19. Ihm becomes the 51st player in program history to win medalist honors -- eight of which have come under Hankins.
"It's always an unbelievable accomplishment to win an individual title at a Division I golf tournament against a national field," said Hankins. "I couldn't be happier for Steven and he really earned his place on our wall of champions at Finkbine. He was focused the entire time I saw him out there this weekend and that showed in his result."
Sophomore Ian Vandersee tied for 11th in the field after carding a one-over par, 73, final round. The West Des Moines, Iowa, native finished with a three-round total of 220 (+4) to earn his third top-20 finish of the season.
He opened his round today with 13 straight pars before playing the final five holes at one-over par. He led Iowa with 36 pars on the weekend. Vandersee has played all of Iowa's 21 rounds this season - one of just three players on the team to do so.
Freshman Nate Yankovich had Iowa's third best finish with a 222 (+6) three-round total to tie for 18th place. He carded a one-under par, 71, in today's final round, marking the first time he has gone below par in Iowa's varsity lineup. Yankovich played holes 11 through 15 at three-under par, and also played the final four holes of his tournament at two-under to help Iowa catch Kansas. Yankovich had 14 birdies in the tournament, second only to Ihm.
Bullington shot a two-over par, 74, on Sunday with another consistent effort. The Frankfurt, Ill., native played the final five holes of his round at one-under par and had four birdies Sunday. He carded a 74 and a 75 in his first two rounds and closed the tournament with seven birdies and one eagle.
After sitting in 62nd place after a rough opening round, Winslow was lights out the rest of the tournament. The Overland Park, Kan., native had Sunday's lowest round and the fifth lowest round of the tournament with a three-under par, 69. Winslow played the back nine without a single par, carding four birdies and an eagle. Winslow made eight pars and one birdie on the front side. He has played six rounds at or below par this season and has four top-21 finishes this season.
"I got it going today," said Winslow, an honorable mention All-American last season. "I drove it well and really stayed within myself this round. I was fired up today and played a good round. I believed in myself and got my confidence back, which was really important after the first round."
Marks tied for 41st with a three-round total of 229 (+13). Kowalski's final round was his best round of the tournament, as the Buffalo Grove, Ill., native shot a one-over par, 73. He finished with a 230 (+14) to tie for 45th place. Aussarassakorn closed with a 54-hole score of 238 (+22).
"We were able to put some distance between ourselves and the rest of the field today," said Hankins. "That will give the team confidence about our performance and potential moving forward. These rounds helped to get us back on our competitive feet. We will take the good and the bad, learn from it and work to get back in this situation again next week at Purdue."
Iowa will conclude its regular season on Sunday with the two-day Boilermaker Invitational in West Lafayette, Ind. The three-round tournament will be held on the Kampen Course at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex.