Improvements in round 2 lead to 12th place finish for ISU men’s golf


Senior Scott Fernandez  practices putting at the ISU golf performance center on U.S Highway 69 just south of Ames on Sept. 21, 2013.

Mike Randleman

All five Cyclones posted improved scores in the second round, but a tumultuous first round prevented a high finish for the ISU men’s golf team.

After beginning the second and final round in 13th place, Iowa State finished in a tie for 12th out of 14 teams and 22 shots behind champion North Carolina at the Bridgestone Golf Collegiate at the Grandover East Resort Course in Greensboro, N.C.

“The way we played yesterday was really abnormal, but it’s golf and that happens,” said ISU coach Andrew Tank. “The way the guys played today was certainly more how they’re capable of and more how we have been playing this fall.”

Iowa State has struggled this year in the first rounds of tournaments, and in four out of five tournaments, its worst round came in round one.

The team’s plan is to address these issues in the offseason and, though Tank is not pleased with the team’s first-round struggles, he saw positives to take away from the event.

“But more than anything, if you look at the whole fall season, a lot of good things are happening,” Tank said.

Junior Scott Fernandez was one of those positives Tank saw Sunday. His two-under-par round of 70 was the team’s lowest score on Sunday, as well as for the tournament.

“It was kind of tough yesterday,” Fernandez said of his first round. “I felt like I played the same both days, really similar ball-striking wise. I just had better course management today.”

Aided by a second round that featured a stretch of six birdies in 10 holes, Fernandez climbed 31 spots on the leaderboard to finish in a tie for 25th place out of 80 players. He finished with a five-over-par total of 177 for the tournament.

Freshman Ruben Sondjaja was also a leader on the course for the Cyclones as he posted the team’s best overall score with rounds of 74 and 72, earning him a tie for 21st place.

Like Fernandez, he also attributed his score to decision-making and course management.

“Personally, I probably wasn’t playing as best as I wanted to,” Sondjaja said. “I was able to just be smart around the course and have good course management to give me as many opportunities as I could.”

Redshirt junior Blake Waller, junior Sam Daley and redshirt sophomore Collin Foster rounded out the starting lineup, posting second round scores of 72, 74 and 77, respectively.

For the tournament, Daley finished tied for 44th, Waller tied for 59th and Foster tied for 68th place.

The Cyclones were without their scoring average leader, freshman Nick Voke, who competed at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship.

Voke finished in 33rd place out of 120 in a tournament that featured top amateurs from the Asia-Pacific region.

The Bridgestone Golf Collegiate was originally scheduled to be a 54-hole event. Due to a frost delay on Saturday, the event was shortened to 36 holes.

The team lamented not having another 18 holes to try to climb further up the leaderboard.

“If we would’ve had another round and if we would have played like we did today, we would’ve been able to move up some more,” Tank said. “But it’s a good learning experience for us. It does happen where tournaments get shortened and we have to come out of the gates stronger.”

Though the team capped off its fall season with its worst finish of the season, an improved final round has fueled optimism heading into the offseason.

“Obviously, we would’ve loved to finish up better than we did this weekend, but we’ve all got our heads up and we’re looking forward to the spring,” Sondjaja said. “I think it’s just a matter of time before things click and I’m sure we’ll get that win sooner or later. I think all of us are pretty hungry for it.”