Men’s golf travels west coast to face a loaded field

The Iowa State men’s golf team practices chipping and putting April 5, 2019, at Coldwater Golf Links.

Tony Liebert

After some of the coldest days this winter with frigid below-zero degree days in Ames, Iowa, the Iowa State men’s golf team got the chance to play in sunny La Quinta, California, for the Prestige at PGA West beginning Feb. 17.

The Prestige at PGA West will be the Cyclone’s second tournament of the spring season and this year’s competition will take place at the Greg Norman Resort Course in the Coachella Valley.

The Greg Norman Resort Course, designed by hall of fame golfer Greg Norman. The 7,200-yard course has plenty of obstacles, as there are 102 white bunkers, while water is used as a hazard on nine holes of the 18 holes. 

This year’s Prestige field is loaded with some of the best programs in the country. All 16 teams are currently ranked in the top 100, headlined by Pepperdine University who is viewed as the best team in the country.

Iowa State has played in this same event every year since the 2014-15 season. Head Coach Andrew Tank thinks this should give his Cyclones quite the advantage.

“All of the guys have played the course in competition, so we will be a little more comfortable and we will know what to expect,” Tank said. “It is definitely one of our favorite events of the year and we are looking forward to the opportunity to play against some really good teams.”

The Cyclones will look to pick up right where they left off. In its last tournament, Iowa State closed out its last round of competition on fire, by posting 22 birdies and they combined to shoot three under par.

Senior Tripp Kinney was especially on top of his game as he closed out with his best round of the Intercollegiate after a slow start. He knocked down eight birdies on his final 18 to shoot six under par for the round. Tank was very pleased with how his leader closed out the tournament.

“I was proud of him for being patient,” Tank said. “A couple of years ago he may have tried to force things a bit out of frustration, but he definitely was patient and rattled off quite a few birdies there.”

This late-round success gave Iowa State plenty of aspects to build upon during practice leading up to this week’s tournament. Tank has been trying to get the best out of his golfers in the two weeks heading into this week’s Prestige.

The Cyclones will have their work cut out for them this week as the field is flooded with talent from top to bottom. They will be competing against six of the top 25 teams in the country, as well as eight of the top 25 individual players with four of those ranked among the top 10.

Iowa State’s battle will begin Monday morning at 7:30 a.m. Each Cyclone will be paired with a golfer from LSU, Texas and Oklahoma State to open the tournament.