Hawkeyes Earn 4th Straight NCAA Regional Bid
May 7, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa men's golf team was selected Monday evening to compete in NCAA Regional competition at The University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens, Ga. Teams were selected to one of six regional sites, with 13 or 14 teams competing at each site. Regionals will be held May 17-19, with 18 holes of play each day.
The Hawkeyes are the No. 5 seed in the 13-team Athens Regional. Iowa is 26th in the nation in Golfweek's May 7 rankings and 27th in Golfstat's May 2 rankings. Iowa enters NCAA Regional competition as the highest-ranked team in the Big Ten.
The top five teams and top individual, not on a qualifying team, in each region, advance to the NCAA Championships, held May 29-June 3 at The Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Alabama is the top-seeded team in the Athens Regional, followed by North Florida. Host-school Georgia is the fourth seed. Iowa is the only Big Ten team competing in the Athens Regional.
Hankins has now led Iowa to NCAA Regionals in each of the last four years. The Hawkeyes advanced to the NCAA Championships in 2009 and 2011. Last season, Iowa finished tied for 10th at the NCAA Championships, marking the best finish in school history. Hankins has also coached the Hawkeyes to an first division finish at the Big Ten Championships in three straight seasons.
Individually, three Hawkeyes earned All-Big Ten honors. Senior Barrett Kelpin finished second in the running for Big Ten Golfer of the Year and was a first team All-Big Ten pick. He currently paces the Hawkeyes with a 72.85 spring scoring average. Kelpin never finished lower than seventh place during regular season stroke play, including a second-place finish at the Boilermaker Invitational.
Senior Chris Brant was named second team All-Big Ten for the second straight year. He earned medalist honors at the Golden Gopher Invitational in the fall and owns a 72.15 stroke average in the spring. Brant finished runner-up at the Hawkeye-Great River Entertainment Invitational and took home a 10th place finish at the Big Ten Championships.
Sophomore Steven Ihm was also a second team All-Big Ten selection. He was named Big Ten Golfer of the Week after his second place finish at the Rod Myers Invitational in the fall and finished inside the top 20 in all three stroke play events in the spring.
Iowa was one of only two schools (Illinois) with three golfers selected to the All-Big Ten teams, and one of only three schools with more than one golfer chosen. This marks the second straight year that three Iowa golfers have been chosen to All-Big Ten teams.
In order of their respective seeding (national rankings in parentheses), the Athens Regional will consist of Alabama (2nd), North Florida (12th), New Mexico (16th), Georgia (25th), Iowa (26th), East Carolina (38th), Long Beach State (40th), Augusta State (44th), Wake Forest (59th), Houston (63rd), Texas-Arlington (80th), UNC-Wilmington (99th) and Loyola, MD (152nd).
Iowa is one of six Big Ten programs advancing to regional competition. Purdue and Ohio State will compete in the Ann Arbor Regional, Indiana will play in the Greensboro Regional, Illinois is in the Norman Regional and Northwestern will play in the Bowling Green Regional.
Iowa tied for fourth place in regional competition a year ago to advance to the NCAA Championships. Brant finished tied for seventh while Kelpin finished tied for 20th at Wolf Run Golf Club in Zionsville, Ind.