In-state rivalries to be renewed for ISU men’s golf at Big Four Match


Kelby Wingert/Iowa State Daily

Freshman Ruben Sondjaja practices his putting during team practice Wednesday, Feb. 26.

Mike Randleman

State bragging rights will be on the line for the ISU men’s golf team on March 1 at the Big Four Match in Chandler, Ariz.

The two-round event will feature all four Division I men’s golf teams in the state of Iowa: Drake, Iowa, Iowa State and Northern Iowa.

“It’s an exhibition tournament, it doesn’t count for our stroke average and that kind of stuff” said freshman Ruben Sondjaja. “But on the other hand, we’re playing all the other three colleges in Iowa and one could say it doesn’t mean much, but for us it means a lot.”

In last year’s event, Iowa State defeated UNI in round one, before falling to Iowa in the second round.

This year, the Cyclones will go up against the Panthers once again in round one. A potential Cy-Hawk matchup looms in round two, which could pit the No. 46 Hawkeyes against the No. 53 Cyclones.

Iowa State has been defeated by Iowa in the past two seasons, providing motivation to turn the tide in this year’s event.

“I’ve just said to the boys that, even though it might not be an official event, you just don’t want to go down there and lose to [Iowa],” said junior Sam Daley of the rivalry. “I think we’re the better side and we’ve just got to trust that we’re a better side.”

Daley, a native of Australia, was unaware of the Iowa-Iowa State rivalry before becoming a Cyclone, but was able to pick up on its significance quickly.

“I picked up on it at the first football game I went to. A lot of the Iowa State fans were giving it to the Hawkeyes and it was pretty funny,” Daley said. “I just bought into it hanging out with a few of my mates. I know there’s been a lot of history between the universities.”

For Sondjaja, another Aussie, this year will mark his first Big Four Match. His upperclassmen teammates have briefed him on the Cy-Hawk rivalry, but Sondjaja will also draw from past rivalries in Australia to bring out his competitive side.

“Back at home, I’m from New South Wales and the state above us was Queensland (Daley’s home state). We had a thing called ‘State of Origin’ where state teams would compete against each other,” Sondjaja said. “New South Wales against Queensland was a really big rivalry. Growing up, Sam and I actually played in a couple teams together and faced off against each other a couple times. That’s a really big rivalry for us.”

In-state rivalries and bragging rights aside, the 36-hole event will also provide an opportunity for ISU coach Andrew Tank to evaluate his team as it heads into the bulk of its spring schedule. The team’s fifth spot in the lineup has been in flux and Tank hopes the Big Four Match will “help me determine our lineup for future tournaments.”

In last week’s Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate, senior Duncan Croudis made his first start of the year and Blake Waller also competed as an individual. Both finished on the bottom half of the leaderboard, failing to capitalize on an opportunity to lock down a spot in the lineup.

This week, redshirt sophomore Collin Foster and freshman Jack Carter will get the nod alongside Iowa State’s core starters which include Sondjaja, Daley, freshman Nick Voke and junior Scott Fernandez.