The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Men’s golf rides momentum

Iowa golfer Aaron DeNucci practices his swing during practice at Finkbine on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. Each golfer has their own person swing that’s different from any other one golfer’s swing. (The Daily Iowan/Margaret Kispert)

After finishing second place at the April 16-SundayHawkeye-Great River Invitational, the Hawkeyes will move forward to postseason play at the Big Ten Championships, which start Friday.

The Hawk golfers have seen their play improve week-by-week after a slow start to the spring. Finishing outside the top five in their first three competitions, the team has improved immensely, finishing fifth and second in their last two tournaments. Head coach Tyler Stith realizes that the team’s second-place finish at the Hawkeye Invitational will create momentum heading.

“It’s good preparation,” Stith said. “We’re going to face really strong teams next week, so it was good to be able to host in order to get ourselves ready for the Big Ten Championships.

”Preparation is crucial, because the team has little practice time this week before it travels to Newburgh, Indiana, on Wednesday.With little practice time, Stith is hoping for minor adjustments.

He isn’t worried about the quick turnaround. He expects the team to continue its current hot streak.

“We are playing extremely well, and I’m glad that we have a quick turnaround, because I’m anxious to get the team back on the course,” he said.

The Hawkeyes finding their stride before postseason play has been a theme in recent years. Last season, the team finished third at the Hawkeye Invitational, which carried over to a second-place finish at the 2015 Big Ten Championships.

Even with the good karma from last season, the Hawkeyes will have to be at their best, because of the talented field in the Big Ten — including No. 2 Illinois and both Purdue and Penn State ranking just outside the top 25.

Recent third-place finisher at the Hawkeye Invitational and senior leader Nate Yankovich knows challenges are ahead.

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“The Big Ten is good this year with Illinois, Purdue, and Penn State,” Yankovich said. “Illinois has some of the top-ranked players in the country. I’m excited to get a piece of them, because we haven’t seen them all year.”

Teammate Raymond Knoll also knows the challenges of Big Ten play, but he is excited about where the team is at right now after a solid showing at the Hawkeye Invitational.

“For our team, it puts a good taste in our mouths,” he said. “It builds some momentum going into next weekend. We might not have played that great all year, but the past three tournaments we’ve put together some really good team scores.”

Knoll knows the team will have to avoid as many mistakes as possible because of the stiffer competition.

“As a team, just limiting bogeys and mistakes will be crucial,” he said. “I only had one double-bogey [at Hawkeye Invitaional], which is better than I’ve done this whole spring season.”

Follow @csindberg32 on Twitter for Iowa men’s golf news, updates, and analysis.

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