Oct. 11, 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.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa women's golf team is set to host its first home event this weekend at Finkbine Golf Course since the fall of 2010.
For the Hawkeyes, it is the perfect opportunity to host a tournament on their home course, while honoring former UI head coach Diane Thomason.
"We are looking forward to hosting and getting to play Finkbine," said UI head coach Megan Menzel. "We have a solid field of teams and are excited to honor Diane in the first annual Diane Thomason Invitational.
"The team has enjoyed a little relief from the travel, and we have put in some good work on our games. Finkbine is in great shape, and we look forward to hosting a first-class event."
Diane Thomason coached the UI women's golf team from 1975-2002. She coached seven All-Big Ten selections and led the Hawkeyes to their first Big Ten title in 1991. Her coaching honors include 1990 and 1991 Big Ten Coach of the Year, 1990 National Golf Coaches Association Coach of the Year, and 1985 LPGA National Coach of the Year.
She was inducted in to the National Golf Coaches Associations Hall of Fame in 1995 and the National Iowa Varsity Club Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013, and continues to lead the USA World University Championships teams, a position she assumed in 1986.
"It is bigger than her contribution to the University of Iowa," said Menzel. "That is evident by the strong field we have, the representation of Big Ten schools, and how well respected she has been in our women's golf coaching organization. It is important that we honor those that laid the ground work for how great it is today for all of us."
"It is an honor," said Thomason. "It shows that she (coach Menzel) respects what we did here at Iowa. I give credit to Megan. She has been wonderful. I try to be as supportive of the program as I can."
For the Hawkeyes, it is special to host a home event.
"It is important to host a home event," said Thomason. "You want to utilize your home course advantage. Travel and expense-wise, it is a date you do not have to be on the road. It is also an opportunity to play in front of the home fans."
"It is comforting to get to play at home, sleep in our own beds, know the golf course, and see familiar faces," said Menzel, in her third year at the helm of the program. "It's also fun; it would be like a football team never getting to play in its football stadium. This is a huge honor, and Finkbine is a pretty special place, so we're excited."
Finkbine -- par 72, 6,212 total yards this weekend -- has played host to numerous tournaments throughout its history.
"Finkbine just keeps getting better," said Menzel. "We're very fortunate in this day and age that we continue to put money into our course that's located right on campus.
"It is great for our student-athletes that everything is centrally located, and it's a beautiful setting. The entire Finkbine staff pours its heart and soul into the golf course, making it a special place to play."
The 54-hole tournament begins with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. (CT) on both Saturday (36 holes) and Sunday (18 holes). Live scoring will be available throughout the tournament at the Iowa women's golf schedule page and at golfstat.com.
"We're close to putting a great tournament together," said Menzel. "We have great young talent, and our experienced players are on the verge of putting it all together. The comfort of being at home and pride of wanting to show up and have a good event can provide the energy we need to move us in the right direction."