Cyclones prepare for every potential challenge in final tournament this fall

Brian Spaen

After a week off from tournament play, the ISU men’s golf team will be traveling back to the East Coast to finish the fall portion of its season.

The Cyclones will be going to Greensboro, N.C., to play in the Bridgestone Golf Collegiate. Forest Oaks Country Club hosts the tournament.

ISU coach Andrew Tank brings some experience to the course as he has previously coached in this tournament while at Minnesota.

“It’s a little bit like the course at [Daufuskie Island,] S.C., but mostly like the course at [Richmond, Va.],” Tank said.

Tank said he believes Forest Oaks is a “pretty straightforward golf course” but will give the players a very good test.

“The greens [are] pretty well guarded by sand traps,” Tank said. “Being aggressive off the tee to get to the greens is important.”

The only inconsistency for the team has been wild scores from round to round by a few golfers, making the count scores higher than the team wants. There’s an emphasis on smart play for this upcoming tournament.

“If you’re playing smart from the fairway, you will give yourself birdie opportunities,” Tank said. “If not, you can leave the ball at tough spots around the green that would make it difficult to get the ball up and down.”

One thing the team has focused on in practice is putting the players in multiple situations so they are comfortable in nearly every situation they experience.

“We try to take guys out of their comfort zone and put them in different situations,” said assistant coach Patrick Datz. “[We] help them get better when something like that arises.”

Forest Oaks Country Club also has been host to a PGA Tour event every year since 1938. Founded as the Greater Greensboro Open, it has gone through four name changes through advertisements since 1988. It’s been known as the Wyndham Championship since 2007.

Four players have participated in every event during the fall season: senior Nate McCoy, sophomore Duncan Croudis, and freshmen Scott Fernandez and Sam Daley. This time, the fifth player will be redshirt freshman Blake Waller in his first college tournament appearance.

“We haven’t had too much consistency from that spot in the lineup,” Datz said, “so he has an opportunity now just to see how he responds.”

Waller has traveled with the team to two events, one last year and to this year’s VCU Shootout. Tank said he believes the combination of his better play in the last few weeks and his experience traveling with the team, “he will know what to expect,” Tank said. 

However, just seeing is never the same as actually playing in one.

“Just going to watch one isn’t as fun as playing in one,” McCoy said. “It’s good he went and saw those events because that made him want to play more.”