Iowa men’s golf plans to compete hard during entire season

The Hawkeyes look to continue recent success and are confident in taking that next step.

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Iowa men’s golf plans to compete hard during entire season

Iowa's Ryoto Furuya chips during a tournament at the Donald Ross Course at the Cedar Rapids Country Club in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.

Iowa's Ryoto Furuya chips during a tournament at the Donald Ross Course at the Cedar Rapids Country Club in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.

Joseph Cress

Iowa's Ryoto Furuya chips during a tournament at the Donald Ross Course at the Cedar Rapids Country Club in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.

Joseph Cress

Joseph Cress

Iowa's Ryoto Furuya chips during a tournament at the Donald Ross Course at the Cedar Rapids Country Club in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.

Jack McFarland, Sports Reporter

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With the weather shifting from summer into fall, it signifies the beginning of golf season for a talented group of Hawkeyes.

The Iowa men’s golf team kicks off its season early next week, Sept. 9 and 10, at the Gopher Invitational hosted by Minnesota.

The Hawkeyes are returning seven golfers to their roster, many of which are seasoned upperclassmen. Those veterans include seniors Matthew Walker and Aaron DeNucci, juniors Alex Moorman, Alex Shaake, Jack Simpson, and Benton Weinberg and sophomore Jake Rowe.

The roster has been capped off with the addition of freshmen Tyler Bussert and Gonzalo Leal Montero.

This familiarity among the team and the courses they play will only help the squad.

“I’m definitely more patient on the courses after playing on some of them numerous times.,” Walker said. “I look at the course differently and let shots come to me rather than pressing for them.”

There is also a familiarity with the past, where there is success but also shortcomings. Walker mentioned not qualifying for the NCAA Regionals last spring is a main driving force for this team.

“Our team is motivated,” Walker said. “Not qualifying for last year’s NCAA Regionals hurt, but we have lots of good golfers returning and ready to take the next step.”

This is the same team that, in the first four years of coach Tyler Stith’s tenure, placed top-4 at all four of the Big Ten Championships and advanced to three NCAA regionals. The Hawkeyes aren’t complacent, they’re hungry.

“No complacency at all,” Stith said. “We were dissatisfied last spring when we missed the regional tournament. We all decided that we aren’t going to sit around and let that happen again. Guys attitudes have been great, we are anxious to get this season started. I challenged everyone to work, to become one stroke better than a year ago. Pushing everyone to find simple daily disciplines to make a one stroke improvement.”

The one thing the Hawkeyes will for sure not be doing this season is sitting around. The schedule following the Gopher Invitational is familiar with a handful of new destinations. The Hawkeyes travel all around the nation this upcoming season. From Minnesota, to Texas, and even Florida and Puerto Rico, the Hawkeyes are taking flight this season and don’t plan on looking back.

Some may look at the schedule and think this much travel and different scenery will be detrimental for the Hawkeye season, but not Stith.

“We are strong,” he said. “We’ve had a great couple weeks of practice, lots of low scores. There’s a huge advantage with our top four golfers returning. Having experience on this team is a huge plus and gives us confidence going forward. They’re definitely motivated.”

Stith is ready, the team is ready, and the Big Ten is about to not only witness the Hawkeye golf team, they’re going to remember it.

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