Men’s golf seeks in-state bragging rights in season finale against Iowa


Redshirt junior golfer Collin Foster lines up a putt at practice on April 14. He led Iowa State at the Bridgestone Golf Collegiate by tying for 24th place.

Mike Randleman

Three days after the Cy-Hawk Series was clinched by Iowa State, the in-state rivalry will continue when the ISU men’s golf team heads to Iowa City.

Though it is not considered an official event in the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series, No. 42 Iowa State and No. 46 Iowa will battle for in-state bragging rights as the teams compete in a field of 12 on April 18 and 19 at the Hawkeye-Great River Entertainment Invitational.

Without a tournament of its own, heading into enemy territory in Iowa City is as close as Iowa State comes to having a home meet.

“It’s an easy trip for us, a two-hour drive,” said ISU coach Andrew Tank. “We’ll have some more people that will come and watch us than normal. It’s definitely a nice, convenient tournament.”

Redshirt junior Collin Foster, the lone Iowan on the roster, expects to see a few more familiar faces in the gallery than usual.

“My grandparents are coming for sure,” Foster said, contemplating his unofficial guest list. “My girlfriend, I think she’s going to head out and watch some golf, which will be nice. I had a buddy who made it through all the rain [last year]. That was awesome. I wonder if he’s going to do the same.”

Foster will also have good memories heading to the Finkbine Golf Course, the site of his career best finish last year where he tied for 10th place.

With his past success, as well as Iowa State’s No. 3 Ruben Sondjaja in the lineup this year after missing last year’s event with appendicitis, Iowa State is projected to be in contention for the tournament title.

At No. 42 in the April 15 Golfstat rankings, Iowa State is the highest ranked team in the field. No. 46 Iowa, which had been ranked ahead of Iowa State for much of the season, trails right behind.

Iowa State owns an 11-3 record this season against the week’s field that boasts eight top-100 teams, but lacks star power.

On paper, Iowa State has several advantages, but it will still have to deftly navigate the 7,239-yard, par-72 layout. Keeping the ball below the hole on the fast, undulating greens will be at a premium.

“You’ve got to take advantage of the par-5s. They’re gettable,” said senior Sam Daley, who tied for 26th in Iowa City in 2014. “Then you kind of have to keep the ball in play. Last year, the greens were pretty fast. It’ll be interesting to see how it sets up this year.”

The green complexes to which Daley alluded could prove challenging given how their shape differs from what the team has often seen in its West Coast-heavy schedule.

“The greens are a little more back-to-front,” Tank said. “We’ve been playing a lot of golf in Arizona where that’s not always the case. It’s more of a Midwest style. Keeping the ball below the hole and not short-siding yourself is probably at more of a premium at Finkbine.”

Last year, the Cyclones took second place but were never in serious contention, as the Hawkeyes cruised to a 15-shot victory—their 14th win in 21 tries at their home event. Senior Scott Fernandez also took runner-up honors, finishing behind then-senior Steven Ihm of Iowa.

At No. 96 in the Golfstat individual rankings, Fernandez is the second-ranked individual in the field.

Tournament play will begin with a shotgun start at 9 a.m. on April 18, with 36 holes on the first day and 18 on the second.