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Iowa State falls short in opening day of Big 12 Match Play

Luke Lu (Iowa State Athletics)
Iowa State sophomore Lukas Pany prepares to hit a shot. (Courtesy of Iowa State Athletics)

The Cyclones made the long trip from Ames to Hockley, Texas to take on three days of Big 12 Match Play. The day marked the first appearances of newcomers to the Big 12 in BYU, UCF, Houston and Cincinnati.

Iowa State entered Match Play with a 2-2 record. Thus, the season had been marked by incredible highs, but also significant lows. Only a week before, the team had finished in fifth place at the Fighting Irish Classic in Indiana, a disappointment following a big win at the Zack Johnson Invitational in Iowa.

Match Play is defined by a unique bracket system where the Big 12 is divided into groups of varying numbers and then competes in direct competition with one of the other schools. Golfers are set up in a one-on-one matchup where they are given the opportunity to score points for their respective teams.

The entire conference was divided into four pools, double what they had been the year previous. Two of the pools (A and B) featured three teams with one advancing from each, while the other pools (C and D) included four teams, with the top two finishers advancing.

The Cyclones were put into Pool C and faced off against TCU and Baylor on day one, where they won four of their 10 possible matchups.

A brutal start

Day one for the Cyclones opened with a matchup against TCU. TCU’s season to that point had no victories, with their highest place finish coming in second place at the Valero Texas Collegiate.

Despite having no wins to their name, TCU came into Match Play and took down Iowa State in a 3-2-0 finish.

The two Cyclones victors, Zach May and Owen Sawyer pulled a good enough performance to beat their TCU opponents, but the rest of the team fell short, leading to two match points, a third-place standing, and zero points in Pool C.

Not quite last

While the Cyclones started Big 12 Match Play with an unsuccessful first round against the Horned Frogs, they still had another opportunity to bounce back against Baylor in the ladder half of day one.

Iowa State pulled itself into eleventh place after the first round of matches, with a second still to come against the Bears and made some substitutions in hopes of ending day one on a positive note.

Lukas Pany returns to team play

In a day full of somewhat disappointing results, the day did include a big highlight for one Cyclone golfer in Pany.

Pany, a senior, had not appeared as a member of the Cyclones in a team performance in the 2023 fall season, until the second match of the first day of Match Play.

Previously, Pany had only appeared as an individual performer at the Zack Johnson Invitational where he managed to tie for fourteenth place. For reasons unknown, Pany was slotted in for Paul Beauvy.

He could not manage a win against his opponent, Baylor golfer Trey Bosco. Despite the disappointing finish, it was a bright spot to see Pany return.

In the final few holes of the first day, Luke Gutschewski and Sawyer pulled out victories, again resulting in a 3-2 finish in a second loss of the day. Overall, the team managed four match points and zero total points. This placed them two match points ahead of last in Pool C, ahead of UCF.

Day one of Big 12 Match Play marked disappointment for the Cyclones golf team with an overall placement in eleventh.

Iowa State will continue Big 12 Match Play Tuesday morning and will face off against UCF in its final pool play match followed by a match in bracket play in the afternoon, where its opponent will be decided following the final results of pool play.

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