Jan. 27, 2014
IOWA CITY, Iowa - The University of Iowa men's golf team geared up in pursuit of its sixth-consecutive NCAA Regional appearance by kicking off practice on Monday inside the James M. Hoak Family Golf Complex.
The Hawkeyes participated in five tournaments last fall, with every golfer on the roster playing in at least one event. The fall slate was loaded with tough competition, as Iowa faced 24 teams who are currently ranked in the top 50 of the Golfstat rankings. Head coach Mark Hankins said the golfers who performed well before the winter break will likely see more action early on in the spring.
"A lot of what you will see early on is based on the results from the fall," he said. "Depending on who plays well and who doesn't, we will do some qualifying at the tournaments and along the way. It's a little different from the fall because it's not as democratic, but at the same time, we're going to find that group of five guys that have the confidence in each other to go out and win golf tournaments. We continue to be a very deep team, and that will ensure that pressure from the guys outside the starting five will remain strong and push us to be a great team this spring."
Ihm earned two top-10 finishes as he tied for eighth place at the Windon Memorial Classic hosted by Northwestern, and tied for 10th at the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate hosted by Baylor.
"Right now, Steven is one of the top ranked amateurs in the world. He had a nice fall and has continued to grow into a consistent performer while not changing what makes him good and the way he goes about his business," said Hankins.
Marks' top finish of the fall came at the Golfweek Conference Challenge, where he tied for 13th.
"Ryan came into this season and put up some really good scores in the first three tournaments. He can build on that confidence and mindset as well as having experience on the upcoming golf courses this spring," said Hankins. "(Ihm and Marks) know they're going to be out of here next year, this spring is a great opportunity for them to give 100% in all aspects of their game and preparation so they can enjoy competing to be the best in the Big Ten and the NCAA. If they push each other to maintain a championship level of commitment, I'm certain they will achieve all of their goals this season."
Junior Brian Bullington posted the lowest 18-hole score of his career in the fall, carding a three-under-par 68 at the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate hosted by Baylor.
Fellow junior Ian Vandersee earned the highest finish of any Hawkeye golfer thus far in the 2013-14 campaign, tying for fourth place at the U.S. Collegiate Championship hosted by Georgia Tech with a four-under-par three-round score of 212.
Sophomore Voramate Aussarassakorn made his first two career team event appearances in the fall, tying for 37th at the Golfweek Conference Challenge and 61st at the Windon Memorial.
Sophomore Nate Yankovich also appeared in two fall events, tying for 32nd at the Golfweek Conference Challenge and 53rd at the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate.
Schaake appeared in the Rod Myers Invitational hosted by Duke, tying for 59th place.
"Carson is a competitive kid, and he continues to work and get better. He's worked very hard at the things that he needs to improve on. That type of honesty with your golf game and preparation is what leads to future success," said Hankins.
Knoll appeared in three events, tying for 42nd at the Golfweek Conference Challenge, 50th at the U.S. Collegiate Championship, and 29th at the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate.
"Raymond has been pretty special this year," said Hankins. "We're looking for him to get more comfortable, continue to be consistent and shoot the kind of numbers that he expects and will put him in contention. I'm pleased with both of our freshmen; they have done a really nice job."
Hankins expects stiff competition from all members of the squad looking to earn spots in tournament lineups.
"As always, preparation and competition are imperative to push us to be the best," he said. "If you're shooting good scores, then you are not only fulfilling your own competitive goals but also helping our team compete for tournament championships."
The Hawkeyes kick off their spring with the Black and Gold Alumni Match at the Lakewood Country Club in Sarasota, Fla., on Feb. 8, followed by the Big Ten Matchplay Championship in Bradenton, Fla., on Feb 14-15.