Oct. 11, 2013
IOWA CITY, Iowa-- After its first ever appearance at the Windon Memorial Classic in Lake Forest, Ill., Iowa had three weeks to prepare for a familiar tournament: the Rod Myers Invitational in Durham, N.C.
The Hawkeyes won the inaugural tournament in 2010 behind top-10 finishes from Vince India and Brad Hopfinger. In 2011, then-sophomore Steven Ihm finished runner-up in the event, leading Iowa to a fourth place finish. Ian Vandersee and Brian Bullington also participated in the event as freshmen, placing 36th and 38th respectively. Iowa placed fifth in the 2012 Rod Myers Invitational, and was and again led by Ihm, who placed 10th.
Four of the five golfers in the Hawkeye lineup for this weekend's tournament played in 2012, and three played in 2011. The familiarity with the course, as well as the stretch of favorable Iowa weather over the past three weeks, has the Hawkeyes feeling good about their chances in Durham.
"I've been putting everything together the past couple weeks," said Ihm. "I'm looking forward to getting back to Duke's golf course. I really like that place."
Junior Ian Vandersee, who will see his first action of the year this weekend, said he and his teammates have been itching to get back into action.
"As a team, I think we all had a good few weeks off from tournament play," he said. "Everyone's put a lot of time in, and we've been focused on the right things. I'm excited to see what we're capable of."
Vandersee, who improved his 2011 score by nine strokes last season, is looking to kick of his junior season with a solid performance at a customary venue. "I'm excited to get back at it. I haven't played in a tournament this year. I'm getting my game in order, and it's starting to come around," he said.
Despite having no experience in a collegiate golf tournament, Schaake insists that he is confident and primed to perform at a high level. The Omaha, Neb., native had a very successful prep career, ranking first in the state of Nebraska and 24th in the nation for the class of 2013 on the National Junior Golf Scoreboard.
"We've been battling it out in qualifying the past couple days, and I was finally able to get it done," Schaake said. "I've got high expectations. I'm going there to shoot the lowest score I can, and I'm ready to play."
Coach Mark Hankins said the extra time off allowed the team to play more qualifying rounds, something the seventh-year head coach said is beneficial for a talent-laden team like the Hawkeyes.
"One of the things with scheduling is that it sometimes isn't timely," he said. "(The break) allowed some guys to make some changes, and I think we're really close to being ready. We should be really competitive at Duke."