ISU men’s golf had slight miss in Missouri

Mike Randleman

The ISU men’s golf team had the best individual and team score of Tuesday’s final round, but it was not quite enough to lead to a title at the Columbia Regional Preview.

In his second collegiate tournament, freshman Ruben Sondjaja paced the team with a six-under-par total of 66 en route to the Cyclones’ second place finish at seven-under-par, five strokes behind the host, Missouri.

“I feel like I’ve gotten my game up the last two rounds, even though the score wasn’t very good,” Sondjaja said, “As a freshman, I guess I’ve had a weight on my shoulders to try to prove myself. [The final round] sort of got the monkey off my back.”

Improved putting was credited to be the factor in Sondjaja carding his first under-par round of the season and finishing tied for sixth place.

“He just wasn’t holing many putts in the first tournament, but he definitely got on the right track this week. To make as many birdies as he did today was really impressive,” said ISU coach Andrew Tank.

A desire to improve on the greens has also been admitted by junior Scott Fernandez, although that weakness did not loom large in the final round, where he managed to shoot 68.

“I was hitting the ball really good [Tuesday] morning. I hit it really close to the pins,” Fernandez said. “I birdied the toughest hole on the course. That gave me a lot of confidence to keep going.”

That confidence propelled Fernandez to a five-under-par stretch on holes seven through 12 that included an eagle on hole 10, which is a par-five. Fernandez’s three-round total of five-under-par led to a team-best fourth-place individual finish for the tournament.

Freshman Nick Voke and junior Sam Daley rounded out team scoring with dual scores of 73 to finish tied for sixth and tied for 15th-place, respectively.

Voke had an inconsistent final round that featured a double-bogey, four bogies, an eagle and three birdies.

Daley, after shooting a five-over-par total of 77 in round one, regrouped in the following rounds by shooting a four-under-par total of 68 in round two.

In round three, he followed up with a one-over-par total of 73 that featured a relatively clean scorecard, making four bogies and three birdies.

Blake Waller and Collin Foster also competed for the Cyclones, though Waller’s score of 24-over-par and a total of 240 was not counted towards team scoring and Foster competed as an individual, where he finished in a tie for 48th place at 13-over-par.

The team now prepares for next week’s VCU Shootout, its third tournament in a three-week stretch.

Confidence stemming from Iowa State’s close call with Missouri, who won their second tournament in a row, could pay dividends next week.

“It’s [Missouri’s] home golf course, so they’re really comfortable there,” Tank said. “We put some pressure on them today, they were just a little too far ahead of us. But to have the lowest round of the day by 10 shots certainly feels good, and it’s something we can build on going into next week.”