Takeaways: The Cyclones find their footing late in Big 12 Match Play



Iowa State redshirt senior Nate Vance hits a practice shot at the Cyclone Golf Performance Center ahead of the 2021 season.

Tom Turner

Iowa State men’s golf finished Big 12 Match Play in seventh Wednesday, which exceeded expectations as they were seeded 10th coming into the event. As the fall schedule comes to a close, the Cyclones ended it on a good note.

The freshman finds his stride

During Big 12 Match Play, Luke Gutschewski, a freshman, continued golfing at a high level this season. Gutschewski had a 2-2-1 record in the tournament, even while facing upperclassmen.

Gutschewski golfed 55 pars and was fifth in par five scoring in the tournament. The team has been able to rely on his consistency throughout match play. 

Needing to stay in the match

Trying to golf close is obviously the goal for every golfer, but it seems to be even more important for the Cyclones. During Big 12 Match Play, the Cyclone golfers who kept it close within their matches were in reach at the end and were able to win or tie in most cases. Ricky Costello and Josh Hetherington both were victorious when going into the closing holes all tied up.

Hetherington won his last two holes to claim a victory at two-up, and Costello was tied with his opponent from West Virginia after the 14th hole. He went on to win the next three holes to defeat his opponent. Even in the Texas match, there was evidence of Cyclones making late pushes. All three ties in that match came down to the later holes. 

If the Cyclones can close the gap on these leads earlier in the match, that gives them more time to win. When the schedule begins again, that is something to watch for as this Iowa State team seemed to be heading in the right direction.

Right Place, Wrong Time

The Cyclones golfed some of, if not their best this season, at the Big 12 Match Play Tournament. The good and bad news is that the teams always want to play great there, which the Cyclones did. However, their season is on pause until late January. 

The Cyclones will look to improve during practice while on break and to fix some problems. When a team is golfing well, it is always tough to see a long break of time break that up. If the Cyclones can continue to golf well out of the break, their season just might be saved.

The team looked good, and there wasn’t just one person who was golfing well; it was the entire team. Hetherington burst into the scene in the tournament, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him golfing in the future. Costello has also begun to golf well, and that doesn’t go well for Jake Slocum, who was left off the team for the tournament. With Hetherington and Costello golfing well, there might not be a spot for Slocum moving forward. 

Practice becomes very important for the next couple of months as the Cyclones look to get their magic and use it when the season starts back up.