Strong final round propels ISU men’s golf to second place

Mike Randleman

The goal for the final round was to shoot the lowest round of the day, and that is exactly what the Iowa State men’s golf team did on Sunday at the David Toms Intercollegiate.

On a windy day in Baton Rouge, La., three Cyclones carded under-par rounds en route to a team score of four-under-par 284, vaulting them from a tie for sixth-place to finishing alone in second at the day’s end.

“I think the conditions were actually tougher today, there was more wind. Overall, the course played more difficult,” said ISU coach Andrew Tank. “I think we just built off the finish we had from our second round and we really just played more like we were capable of.”

The team’s improved play was fueled in part by junior Scott Fernandez. He posted the lowest overall score for the Cyclones and shot a two-under-par 70 on Sunday, which featured six birdies.

“My ball-striking was pretty good and I was way more comfortable on the greens. I like the Bermuda grass,” said Fernandez. “On the green it helps to see the grain because you can see if it’s shiny or really dark – it helps you see if it’s uphill or downhill. My putting was improved this week, so I’m pretty happy about that.”

Fernandez began the day tied for fourth-place and finished tied for third and at one-under-par, seven shots behind medalist Grady Brame of Southeastern Louisiana.

Freshman Nick Voke also shot under-par on Sunday, carding a three-under-par 69, the Cyclones’ only round in the 60s for the tournament. His bogey-free final round improved his position on the leaderboard from tied for 21st to a tie for seventh at one-over-par.

“The course was extremely difficult,” said Voke. “It was probably the hardest golf course I’ve played in a competition before.” 

Voke attributed his success to finding the fairway consistently and hitting 14 out of 18 greens in regulation.

Freshman Ruben Sondjaja was the third Cyclone to post an under-par round on Sunday, carding a one-under-par 71 that featured three birdies and two bogies. He finished at five-over-par for the tournament and in a tie for 19th place.

Junior Sam Daley also posted a qualifying tournament score. He shot 74 Sunday, which was good enough to finish in a tie for 25th place at seven-over-par.

Collin Foster was the fifth starter for Iowa State. He shot 78 in the final round to finish at seventeen-over-par and in a tie for 59th place.

The team recorded its third-straight second-place finish in a row and have placed in the upper half of the field in all four events this year. 

Two out of those three finishes resulted in improved play in the final round.

“At one stage, I think we were 21-over-par and we finished 12-over-par,” Voke said of the team’s improvement this week. “I’m really impressed with the boys in playing well coming home and it shows we have a little bit of fight and resilience in us.”