Three Big Takeaways: Top-10 finish fueled by teamwork for men’s golf

Then-junior golfer Lachlan Barker lines up his putt April 3, 2021, at Coldwater Golf Links. 

Tom Turner

Going into the Iowa State men’s golf’s latest match at The Prestige, in La Quinta, Calif., head coach Andrew Tank wanted all five golfers contributing towards a top-10 finish.

Ask, and you shall receive.

The Cyclones tied for 9th with SMU while having four golfers inside the top-60, despite a rough opening round to the tournament.

At the Prestige, 24 teams competed, and six of those teams in the mix were ranked.

There were some potential distractions with the delays and wind conditions during the second day,” Tank said. “I’m super pleased with their attitudes in all three days even when we were struggling. We got off to a great start in round three and we need to sustain that for multiple rounds.”

Multiple options

Tank emphasized that he wanted consistent play from all of his golfers whenever it came time to compete. At the Prestige, he was gifted that request from some unexpected golfers.

Jake Slocum, a freshman, golfed his way into a top-40 finish which was his best this season. Slocum golfed a 74, 77 and 74 in rounds one through three. He contributed seven birdies total, including four in round three. 

“Just trying to be successful you need all five guys contributing,” Tank explained. “Sloucm had a great match, especially for him being a freshman. Definitely good signs for us moving forward this spring.”

Lachlan Barker tied for 28th on the individual leaderboard at +10, which led the Cyclones. Barker has had quite the season so far, and the Cyclones wouldn’t have finished top-10 without him.

Barker golfed nine total bridies and even shot an eagle in round two. Josh Hetherington tied with Slocum in 39th place as Hetherington has been a consistent golfer the past couple of matches. He shot three birdies in each round during the event.

Keeping the confidence

After his team’s fourth top-10 finish of the season, Tank was asked if the team’s ability to place in the top-10 at the Prestige gives the team confidence moving forward.

“It does for sure,” Tank said. “We talked about that as a team. It shows that there isn’t that big of a gap between the ranked teams and us. We are capable of competing in every match with the best of the best.”

Confidence is key in every sport, but the men’s golf team has had it come and go.

“We feel good about what we did,” Tank said. “A lot of positives to take from the week. We faced some challenging weather conditions with the wind and we were able to move past it.”

Running with the momentum

The Cyclones are back in action March 7-8 in Bluffton, S.C., at the Colleton River Collegiate. With less time off than before, they will look to keep the momentum they gathered this past week.

During the three weeks between The Prestige and their previous match, the Cyclones made some improvements which showed in their 9th place finish. 

Getting back to work, doing what we are doing is big for us,” Tank said. “Going into this tournament, I thought we had a great couple weeks of practice.”

Earlier in the season, Iowa State had trouble putting together consecutive well-rounded finishes in events.