Men’s golf confident about coming match



Confidence is crucial for a golfer, and that is not a concern for the Iowa men’s team right now.

Coming off a fifth-place finish at the April 2-3 Thunderbird Invitational, the Hawkeyes want to carry over the positive momentum at this weekend’s Hawkeye Invitational.

“This spring, we started slow, but we’ve gotten better each and every week,” head coach Tyler Stith said. “[Thunderbird] was our best performance of the spring.”

Last season, the Hawkeyes placed third at the Hawkeye Invitational; they’ll expect similar results this season.

“I’d like to see five guys in contention come Sunday,” Stith said. “I know if we have five guys going for an individual title that the team is going to be in a position to win on Sunday.”

The Hawkeyes should expect great results. This is, after all, their home course and should have the advantage over other teams.

“I expect the guys to be comfortable,” Stith said. “Being able to play here every day gives you a lot of confidence. Being more familiar with the golf course will give them the confidence they need to perform well.”

Confidence has been a recent theme on this Hawkeye team, and senior Nate Yankovich shares a high level of confidence with his coach.

“Golf is a strange sport; it’s all about when you get hot and if you get hot at the right time, the sky is the limit,” Yankovich said. “I think we’re going to be peaking at the right time.”

Yankovich is right; the team is hitting its stride at the perfect time. At the Thunderbird Invitational in Tempe, the Hawkeyes shot 839, a season-low 54-hole score. Freshman Matthew Walker finished seventh, and Raymond Knoll and Yankovich tied for 14th.

Walker, Knoll, and Yankovich have been the hottest golfers on the team this spring. Each has finished as Iowa’s top golfer at least once.

The three feed off each other, too. Walker — in just his freshman season — has asked both Yankovich and Knoll for tips and pointers before he tees it up in each tournament.

“I’ve used both for guidance quite a bit,” Walker said. “Nate being the senior telling what to expect, and Ray has played a lot over the years. He’s helped me control myself, and he tells me where to hit on courses I haven’t played before.”

Yankovich’s and Knoll’s guidance has helped Walker become one of the better freshmen in the Big Ten. And Walker’s play has not only provided a spark for the team on the golf course, but he’s also a fun guy to be around off the course.

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