Cyclones head to Hawkeye Invitational, Tank discusses keys to win


Collin Maguire

Iowa State men’s golf head coach Andrew Tank watches the team practice at the Coldwater Golf Links on April 3.

Spencer Schultz

Iowa State men’s golf hasn’t enjoyed some of the success that it expected to have this season.

The Cyclones have finished in 15th and 16th place respectively in their last two tournaments and have no top-five finishes as a team this season.

But with one last regular season tournament, the tide can change at the Hawkeye Invitational. Outperforming a state rival en route to a good finish and ending the regular season on a high note is something that would give them some needed confidence heading into the postseason.

Iowa State Head Coach Andrew Tank’s been the man at the helm for Cyclones golf for the past 12 years. Better than anyone else, he knows the ebbs and flows of the season, particularly in a five-man team golf setting.

Iowa State is coming off finishes of 16th and tied for 15th in the last two outings. While certainly disappointing results, it’s hard to pinpoint just where things have went wrong.  

“It certainly wasn’t our best, but I don’t think there’s just one specific thing that went wrong,” Tank said in regard to the final round in Wyoming. “With team golf, it’s interesting because you’ve got five players and there’s a number of things that can come up.”

The final round at the Wyoming Cowboy Classic was in fact the deal-breaker. After being in contention for a top-five finish at the conclusion of the first two rounds, the team shot a final round 291 to drop to 16th in the final standings.

It was the lowest round of the tournament, as they shot 285 in each of the first two rounds.

The team’s struggles this season have a lot to do with the inconsistent production from their secondary golfers.

In most tournaments, it’s been Lachlan Barker leading the way. Sometimes it’s been Nate Vance, Luke Gutschewski or Ricky Costello. But Tank said the Cyclones haven’t all been hitting their stride at the same time.

“We just haven’t had the consistency across the lineup. Our focus this week has been on short game and being able to scramble around the greens to save pars,” Tank said. “[We need to] just play within ourselves, not trying to do more than we’re capable of. Play our game and stick to the game plan.”

Scrambling may be a key contributor to everyone in the field in Iowa City, as the weather looks to be in the high 40s, including potential rain on the final round Sunday. It could be the difference between a top five finish or another disappointing result.

Lachlan Barker enjoyed a season-best performance his last time out, finishing tied for fifth in Wyoming. Before that, he had a season-worst performance at The Hootie in South Carolina. So, what particularly changed for Barker?

“Mental composure,” Tank said. “[Barker] stayed less emotional and didn’t try to force things. He’s put a lot of pressure on himself this spring to perform and he did a great job at the last event of just rolling with the punches and keeping his composure throughout the 54 holes.”

Barker’s composure will play a role in how well he and the rest of the team does. It’s an event in which the Cyclones can finish well in, as there’s just one top-60 team featured. Big 12 foes Kansas (No. 28) and Kansas State (No. 62) lead the competition, followed by Cincinnati (No. 68) and Iowa (No. 75).

The Cyclones head into the weekend ranked 102nd in the country.

The tournament tees off at 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning before concluding on Sunday in the two-day event.