Men’s golf aims for relaxation in Palm Springs

Alex Gookin

Low golf scores have not come easy for the Cyclones this spring season, but coach Andrew Tank said they will not happen without a little relaxation.

“I think if anything, [pressure is] what’s holding us back at the moment.” Tank said.

The ISU men’s golf team will try to reverse its stressful trend in a three-day tournament at the Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate on Feb. 22-24 in Palm Springs, Calif.

“My goal is to go out there and to have fun and enjoy ourselves and maybe take some of the intensity down a couple notches,” Tank said. “I think it hasn’t been producing the results we’ve been looking for.”

The results Tank was talking about include a 10th-place finish in their first tournament of the spring and, more recently, a disappointing second-place finish in a blowout loss to Iowa at the Big Four Match.

One of the biggest storylines at the Big Four Match was sophomore Scott Fernandez, ISU’s No. 1 golfer and Golfweek’s No. 9 golfer nationally, producing zero wins for the Cyclones while tying the first round and losing the second.

“I’m not worried about it; I just didn’t have my best day,” Fernandez said. “It’s just golf. I didn’t have my best day, and that’s it. If I punish myself every time I play bad, that wouldn’t help me at all.”

Fernandez has thrived under that model, finishing in the top three individually in all four meets prior to the Big Four Match. The Big Four did not count against individual or team records.

“I’m hoping to focus on being more calm and relaxed on the course and I’m trying to translate that to the guys, as well,” Fernandez said.

The Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate will be the Cyclones’ third tournament in 11 days. After it, the team will have almost a month off before heading to Greenville, S.C., to compete March 22 to 24.

“We set this schedule up so we could get as many rounds as possible in the month of February while it’s still cold here in Iowa,” Tank said. “So I think it’s given us some opportunities to practice and have good competition, and hopefully it will pay off this weekend in Palm Springs.”