Fernandez, ISU men’s golf to compete at VCU Shootout


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

Scott Fernandez and the ISU men’s golf team return to a course and tournament where they have achieved past success.

On Sept. 23 and 24, the Cyclones are set to tee-up at the VCU Shootout at Hermitage Country Club in Manakin-Sabot, Va.

“It was really special for me; it was my first [collegiate] victory,” said Fernandez of his 2011 VCU shootout win. “It’s always nice to go back and get the title back again.”

His win led the team to a fourth-place finish, and came on the heels of another win in 2010 by former ISU golfer, Nate McCoy.

Fernandez also finished second in 2012 en route to a fifth-place finish for the team.

He attributes much of his success at the VCU Shootout to how the course’s tree-lined fairways set up favorably for him to drive off the tee, the self-proclaimed strength of his game.

“I’m really comfortable with courses with trees. I see my shot off the tee better than a course where there’s just nothing,” Fernandez said. “The ball’s never going to roll, it’s just going to stick on the fairways if it’s wet. That’s why it’s important to hit it well off the tee.”

Factors relating to teeing off will not be the only concern, as Hermitage’s distinctive greens could provide a challenge.

“The greens really make the course,” said ISU coach Andrew Tank. “They can get pretty quick and they’ve got some undulation to them. It’s really important to leave your ball in the right spot.”

The starting lineup set to face these difficult greens is nearly the same as last week’s lineup that took second place at the Columbia Regional Preview.

The quartet of freshmen Ruben Sondjaja and Nick Voke, along with juniors Sam Daley and Scott Fernandez has made up four of the five starting spots in every tournament this year.

The fifth starting spot has been in flux, with Zach Steffen and Blake Waller filling the void in the team’s first two tournaments.

This week, a playoff during Sunday’s practice round between Jack Carter and Collin Foster will determine the fifth spot, as well as who will compete solely as an individual.

Foster, a redshirt sophomore, has one tournament under his belt this year, finishing tied for 60th place at the Columbia Regional Preview.

Carter, a freshman, will be competing in his first collegiate tournament if he wins the playoff.

The VCU Shootout will complete a stretch that features three tournaments in three weeks. Preparation for this week’s event has been lighter than in weeks past.

“We gave the guys [Wednesday] off when we got back from Missouri. Thursday and Friday of this week, it’s been pretty relaxed. They’ve just kind of come out here when they’ve wanted to and stay as long as they want,” Tank said. “We start off really strong so now we’re giving them a little bit more freedom and then we’ll be able to take some time off after this tournament.”