Final round struggles result in second place for ISU men’s golf


Ruben Sondjaja, freshman in psychology, sets up for practice at the ISU golf performance center on U.S. Highway 69 just south of Ames on Sept. 21, 2013.

Mike Randleman

Sitting only two shots from first place heading into the final round, the ISU men’s golf team was unable to take home the title at the VCU Shootout on Sept. 24.

After shooting six-over-par on Sept. 24, the highest score of their three rounds, the Cyclones finished in second place at one-under-par for the tournament and 22 shots behind Virginia Tech.

“Today was frustrating, we played poorly as a team today,” said ISU coach Andrew Tank. “Overall, there are some good signs and I was really happy with the contributions that Collin Foster made and I’m encouraged by some of the other things I saw.”

Foster, a redshirt sophomore, was also in a position to finish on top of the leader board. He was four shots out of the lead and in a tie for second place heading into Sept. 24, but a four-over-par start to his first six holes quickly eliminated him from title contention.

He went on to shoot a final-round score of seven-over-par, 79, which dropped him to a tie for 25th place.

“Today I was obviously disappointed with how I performed but at the same time, I’m excited about playing well the first day,” said Foster, “It was the first tournament this fall where my score was in the top five [scores for the team], so that was kind of nice to help out the team in that way.”

Foster credits his improved play to changes in his putting stroke made with the aid of assistant coach Peter Laws.

“They’re not little changes, either,” Foster said, “They’re pretty drastic.”

A putting stroke that had him over-accelerating the putter through the ball was cited as the problem. After much practice the past few weeks, a new putting stroke has been implemented, although it remains a work in progress.

“They [the coaches] changed my set-up pretty good, so I was fairly uncomfortable over the ball,” Foster said. “I’m still a little uncomfortable and I’m still changing things here and there, but there are moments of brilliance.”

Foster’s freshmen teammates, Jack Carter, Ruben Sondjaja and Nick Voke, were bright spots in what was otherwise a trying final round. They each shot one-under-par rounds of 71.

Sondjaja recorded the best individual tournament score on the team, finishing at one-under-par for the tournament and in a tie for ninth place, his second top-10 finish in a row.

“I’m pretty confident with my game. I played well last week, so I felt like I just continued the momentum,” said Sondjaja, “I was happy with the scores I was able to post and I was pretty happy with the way I played, there were just a few silly mistakes, but I’m sure I can improve for the next tournament.”

Carter, who competed as an individual and did not count toward team scoring, improved by three strokes in each round, recording rounds of 77, 74 and 71. He finished in a tie for 31st at six-over-par.

Rounding out the starting lineup, junior Scott Fernandez shot a two-over-par round of 74 to finish in a tie for 19th place at two-over-par for the tournament.

Sam Daley, a junior, shot 78 in the final round to post a five-over-par total, good enough for a tie for 29th place. His score was not counted towards team scoring, as only the top four scores are considered.

The team will have a week off before competing at the David Toms Invitational in Baton Rouge, La., on October 5 and 6.