ISU Golf Club sends seven to nationals


Courtesy of Jeremy Mason

Eric Itokazu, junior in mechanical engineering and member of the ISU Golf Club, tees off.

Jack Macdonald

David Stein and Jeremy Mason have gone to the National Collegiate Club Golf Association national tournament in the past, but one notable difference this year is they will bring along five other golfers.

Stein and Mason previously represented the ISU golf club at nationals as individual qualifiers. Both players finished in the middle of the pack, but helped make a mark for a club that has only been a competitive team for two years.

The club has been around for years, but has only been utilized as an outlet for anyone looking to play a round of golf. The team wasn’t formed until the 2013 fall semester, when it joined the NCCGA Twin Cities Region. Iowa and Minnesota are the other two teams in the region. 

“We dove in headfirst that first semester and had high hopes,” said Chase Russell, junior and public relations officer of the club. “With 30,000-plus people on campus, we expected to be a force right away.”

In order to qualify, the club had to shoot its way through two regional tournaments. The first tournament took place at Veenker Memorial Golf Course in Ames, while the second tournament took place two weeks later at Wedgewood Cove Golf Club in Albert Lea, Minn.

“Going into both tournaments, we knew that our biggest competition would be Iowa,” said David Stein, junior and vice president of the club. “We just needed to play our game.”

The club did exactly that. In the first tournament, the club came away with a narrow margin of victory. Down five strokes after day one, the club was able to battle back and squeak out a two-stroke victory. Iowa finished two strokes behind.

Entering the second tournament in Albert Lea, all the club had to do to secure their automatic bid to nationals was win the tournament. With horrid conditions on the course, the club attempted to post decent scores.

After day one, the club jumped out to an 18-stroke lead and then cruised through day two. Iowa State finished 24 strokes ahead of Iowa.

“This was by far our best tournament. To battle the conditions that we were put in and to still put up great scores shows a lot about our team,” said Matt Dohse, senior and club president.

By earning the regional tournament sweep, the club qualified for the NCCGA National Tournament, which takes place April 25 to 26 at Bryan Park Golf Course in North Carolina. During the two-day event, the team will play 36 holes on two different courses. Of the 30-plus teams that qualified, the one to amass the fewest strokes will be crowned the 2015 Spring Champion.

Outside of the 30-plus teams that qualified, there will also be 18 individual qualifiers competing for the coveted red jacket.

“To be competing for a team title this year means a lot. I won’t be here by myself and I’ll be able to bond with the team,” said Stein, who has made appearances at nationals in the fall of 2013 and fall of 2014.

With the experience of a two-time individual qualifier on the team, along with Mason, who qualified in Spring 2014, needed experience to guide the team to a successful showing is more likely to be present.

“David is a team leader and he’s a great guy to talk to for advice on how to golf in big time events,” Dohse said. “He is one of our best golfers.”

Although it’s the club’s first time at nationals as a team, it expects to leave a mark and put the program on the map. The team hopes to finish in the top half of the standings and gain experience for future years.

“We will just need to play our game and golf like it is a normal regional tournament,” Stein said. “Every golfer there is going to be good, but we won’t be scared of the big stage.”