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 peaks at right time

Margaret Kispert
Iowa golfer Carson Schaake hits the ball off the fairway during the Iowa Invitational at Finkbine Golf Course on Sunday, April 17, 2016.

The men’s golf team has been excellent in its last three tournaments, and now heading into the May 16-18 NCAA regional, the Hawkeyes believe they have what it takes to compete with the best.

In order to compete with the top teams in the nation, the Hawks need to peak at the right time. And that is exactly what they’ve done in the last two months of the season.

At the April 2-3 ASU Thunderbird, they finished fifth — an event that featured three top-25 teams.

They backed up that performance with a second-place finish at their home event at the April 16-17 Hawkeye Invitational. And most recently they took second at April 22-24 Big Ten Championships, falling behind No. 2 Illinois’ record performance in the final round.

“The last three tournaments have been huge for us,” junior Carson Schaake said. “We knew we had to play well to solidify our spot into regionals. It was really cool to see that in the last three tournaments, we stepped it up.”

The Big Ten showing and the recent run the Hawkeyes have been on has sparked their confidence.

They will certainly need to be confident because in order to advance to the May 27 NCAA Championships, they will need to finish in the top five in a 14-team regional field.

“We have a lot of confidence going into regionals,” Schaake said. “We believe we can go in there and play some solid golf and feel comfortable that we can get out of there with a top-five finish and head to the national championships.”

Despite the confidence, the Hawkeyes are underdogs and are seeded No.10. Schaake is not concerned with the rankings.

“Honestly, I really don’t think seeding matters,” he said. “We look at all those teams, and I think we can beat every single one of them.”

Assistant coach Dan Holterhaus also trusts the seeding the team has been dealt doesn’t factor into what the golfers need to do to advance to the NCAA match.

“Golf is one of those games where seeding doesn’t matter,” he said. “We know that if we go in there and do the best that we can, then we can advance. And [regionals] is not a tournament that you have to win, so we know we control our own destiny.”

Although seeding is not an issue, the team acknowledges the stiff competition, with five teams ranked in the top 25 of the Golf Coaches Association of America Poll. Competing against No. 6 USC, No. 14 Arizona State, No. 16 South Florida, No. 22 San Diego State, and No. 25 Texas A&M, the Hawkeyes know that getting off to a solid start will be crucial.

One Hawkeye who will need to be at his best is senior Nate Yankovich— he has been one of the top Hawkeye performers this season. He hopes he and upperclassman teammates Raymond Knoll and Schaake can lead the team in round one.

“It’s important to get off to a solid start; especially in college golf; it’s usually one or two guys take [scores] pretty low and then the other guys keep it around even par,” he said. “If I and Raymond and even Carson can piece some things together, we will have a really good shot at getting where we need to be.”

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

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