Dec. 30, 2013
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- When the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament concluded Dec. 17 at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif., former University of Iowa men's golf standout Vince India moved one step closer to his ultimate goal of competing on the PGA Tour.
"It was very surreal at that moment," said India, when he realized he had qualified. "I was playing well and was in a pretty nice zone at the end. It took me a little bit after I signed my scorecard to realize I had qualified."
India, who competed at Iowa from 2008-11, finished tied for 42nd at 12-under-par, earning an exemption for the first eight events of the 2014 Web.com Tour.
"It is one step closer to the PGA Tour," said India. "It is about as close as you can get to the PGA Tour, and it is the right step for me. Ever since you think about playing competitive golf, how can you not have a goal of reaching the PGA Tour? Competing on the PGA Tour is the ultimate goal."
For India, this is the next step.
"For the average viewer, the Web.com Tour is the younger brother of the PGA Tour," he said. "It is similar to Triple A baseball. Playing on the Web.com Tour is a stepping stone toward the Tour."
India led the 2011 Hawkeyes to a 10th place finish at the NCAA Championships after being named the Big Ten Player of the Year and winning the coveted Les Bolstad Trophy for lowest season stroke average in the conference. His season scoring average of 71.08 is the ninth-lowest in the trophy's existence and the lowest in Iowa golf history.
India helped Iowa to NCAA postseason competition in his final three seasons in Iowa City, including NCAA Finals appearances in 2009 and 2011.
"It is one step closer to the PGA Tour. It is about as close as you can get to the PGA Tour, and it is the right step for me. Ever since you think about playing competitive golf, how can you not have a goal of reaching the PGA Tour? Competing on the PGA Tour is the ultimate goal."
-- Vince India
"Vince turned the corner his junior and senior seasons at Iowa by learning how to win and consistently compete for tournament championships," said UI head coach Mark Hankins, who has guided Iowa to NCAA regional competition in five-straight seasons. "He also helped lead his team to multiple team championships, put in the hard work, and expected the same from his teammates. Being the Big Ten Player of the Year in golf and Les Bolstad Award winner proved that he was ready for the next level."
India's time at Iowa played an important role in his development.
"My time at Iowa helped me to become a stronger player, mentally," said the Deerfield, Ill., native. "You are grinding it out and if things are not going your way, you just keep your chin up and keep going. That is what I keep from my time at Iowa.
"I was very fortunate to play golf there and I would like to get that Iowa golf name out a little bit. I think it is at a point to where the program can get the best recruits in the nation."
For Hankins, it is rewarding to see former Hawkeyes enjoy success following their days in Iowa City.
"We are proud of Vince and his accomplishments since leaving our program," said Hankins. "He has had success in professional golf, been involved in our alumni events, spent time with the guys in Florida and continues to grow his game and achieve at the highest level.
"He is a smart guy and a great athlete, which creates an endless potential. Anything we can do to help continue his progress we do, and we enjoy having him involved with us in Iowa City and around the country."
India, one of two former Big Ten players to qualify, will begin competition on the 2014 Web.com Tour when it gets underway Feb. 6-9 at the Panama Claro Championship in Panama City, Panama.