May 29, 2012
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- The University of Iowa men's golf team is tied for sixth place after the first round of the 2012 NCAA Championships. Freshman Joseph Winslow paced the Hawkeyes and is tied for fourth place through the first round. Action is being held at The Riviera Country Club, a par 71, 7,292-yard historic country club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
"I felt like we got off to a good start," said Head Coach Mark Hankins. "If you play in the morning the first day, you play in the afternoon on the second day. After two days of play we will know where we stand against the field and continue to adapt from there."
Iowa finished tied for third among the 15 teams in the morning wave, ahead of four top-25 programs. Individually, Winslow tied for third amongst morning wave competitors, one stroke back from the leader.
Starting the day on Riviera's back nine, Winslow found a bogey on the 460-yard 12th hole to go one-up through three. He picked the stroke back up, and then some, with birdies on 15 and 17, finishing the back nine at one-under par 35.
Winslow stayed hot with a birdie on the par 5 first hole before bogeying number two. Back-to-back birdies on five and six brought Winslow to three-under on the day and threw him into a share of the individual lead at the time. His birdie on six was one of three red numbers shot by Hawkeye golfers on the 199-yard par three. Winslow lost a stroke on hole eight to finish one-under 34 on the back nine and two-under 69 on the day. The Overland Park, Kan., native is tied for fourth place through round one.
"Joseph got off to a nice start," said Hankins on his freshman's performance. "He had a nice up and down on the first hole that gave him some confidence. He kind of let that confidence flow throughout the round. For him, it's carryover from the final round at regionals where he is deciding to create his own mindset, trust our game plan and work hard at putting himself in the zone during the round. He did a nice job of continuing to stay in the present all the way through 18."
"We're all really competitive people and we're all trying to do the best we can out here, so my mindset is to play as well as I can on this golf course each day," said Winslow on the remainder of his tournament. "I'm just going out there, playing my game, trusting my drives and seeing what score I can throw up there every day."
Sophomore Steven Ihm also played a consistent round with just three holes over par. Ihm is one of three Iowa golfers making their NCAA Championships debut. After five consecutive pars to begin his round, Ihm birdied the nearly 500-yard, par 4, 15th hole. He closed his back nine with bogeys on 17 and 18, making the turn at one-over par.
After an errant tee shot and triple bogey on hole one, Ihm settled in to shoot three-under on his final eight holes. He went birdie-birdie on three and four, bringing him back to one-over on the round.
Iowa's shot of the day came from Ihm on the 194-yard par 3 sixth hole. The ball landed on the green just in front of the cup, took a bounce forward and struck the pin. The ball then rolled up the flagstick and dropped on the backside of the cup, two feet short of a hole-in-one. He would sink his birdie putt, par out, and finish the day at one-over par 72. Ihm owns a share of 27th place.
"There's a lot of golf left to play," said Ihm. "You just have to remain confident and know that other teams are more nervous than we are. We feel a little more prepared than everyone else and I think that'll show in the long run.
"I hit a nice little 5-iron and it was just on a line the whole way - it never left the flag," Ihm said about his near hole-in-one. My dad said it landed about six inches in front, rode up the flag stick and landed right behind it. It was pretty cool."
Freshman Ian Vandersee started his round with a bogey on 10 but picked the stroke back up with a birdie on the par 4 12th hole. Bogeys on 16 and 18 put the former West Des Moines Valley prep at two-over par 38 through nine holes. Vandersee birdied the fifth but recorded a double bogey on the eighth to shoot a one-over 36 on the front. Vandersee finished with an opening round of 74 (+3) and is in a tie for 62nd place.
Second round action will begin Wednesday morning with tee times starting at 9:00 a.m. (CT). The Hawkeyes will compete in the afternoon round and tee off on the first hole, beginning at 2:40 p.m. (CT). Fans can follow the live scoring at ncaa.com.