Men’s golf struggles on par-5s, tie for seventh in Louisiana


Then-junior Nick Voke practices his chipping Oct. 7, 2015, at the ISU golf facility. 

Mike Randleman

The David Toms Invitational was Louisiana State’s party and everyone else was just invited.

Host LSU ran away to a 16-shot victory at its home event at the University Club on Oct. 10 and 11 in which the ISU men’s golf team was left in the dust by 46 shots en route to tying for seventh place.

“They made a lot less mistakes and had a really good short game,”said ISU coach Andrew Tank of No. 40 LSU. “They were playing the ball in the right spots when they were in trouble and they’re hitting great short game shots around the greens in saving par and just not making many bogeys. Just the little things we need to get better at and they did those pretty well.”

Iowa State was by no means dominant in any one category this weekend, but a trouble spot for the Cyclones that has separated them from the elite programs like LSU this season has been an inability to capitalize on the par-5s.

In the first two events, Iowa State was only 10th and seventh-best in the field in par-5 scoring average and this week proved no better. Iowa State posted a 5.17 average, good for 12th out of 14 teams.

“From what I saw it was missing the second shot in a bad place, being too aggressive or just not leaving yourself where you have a good third shot into the green, getting in the hazard,” Tank said. “There’s quite a bit of water. I just saw a lot of balls in the hazard, which is going to happen, that’s what makes this golf course tough.”

Aside from posting a 10 on the par-5 third hole in round one, Nick Voke played the par-5s in three-under-par, which was instrumental to Voke leading the Cyclones on the week.

With rounds of 71, 76 and 75, the junior from Auckland, New Zealand, tied for 12th place, although it is his worst result in three starts that feature a runner-up and third place finish.

Finishing six-over-par for the tournament, Voke was well out of range of individual champion Eric Ricard of LSU, who tallied a seven-shot victory at 10-under-par.

Junior Ruben Sondjaja was Iowa State’s next best performer, and one who would have had a chance at a top-10 finish had a second-round score of 84 not derailed his opening and closing scores of 71 and 72.

At 11-over-par, Sondjaja tied for 24th place out of 75.

“Voke’s playing great, and I think Ruben seriously has one of the best golf swings I’ve ever seen,” said redshirt senior Collin Foster, who tied for 35th place. “For him, it’s only a matter of time before he’s shooting Jason Day-like numbers. I like where we’re at in terms of the guys we have and how they’re playing, it’s just a matter of getting those little mistakes out of the way.”

The ISU men’s golf team will close out the fall portion of the 2015-2016 season on Oct. 25-26 at the Bridgestone Collegiate in Greensboro, N.C.

Iowa State will be without the services of Voke, who will be competing on Oct. 22-25 in the Men’s Asia-Pacific Team Championship in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.