ISU men’s golf to find change of scenery in South Carolina


Richard Martinez/Iowa State Dail

ISU men’s golf coach Andrew Tank is seen speaking with senior Sam Daley in October, 2014. Tank will return to his alma mater, Minnesota, at the 2015 Gopher Invitiational on Sept. 13 and 14.

Mike Randleman

After three weeks on the West Coast, the ISU men’s golf team is taking a break from the desert in favor of the ocean shores of South Carolina.

No. 47/55 (Golfweek/Golfstat) Iowa State is set to compete with 14 other teams at the Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday General Hackler Championship in Myrtle Beach, S.C. on March 9 and 10.

The Cyclones are familiar with the tournament after taking third place last season, but they will face a new course as the event has moved from TPC Myrtle Beach to The Dunes Club, a 7,233-yard par-72 layout.

“I really don’t know much about it,” Tank said of the course. “All the teams are kind of in the same boat, except for Coastal [Carolina], since they’re hosting. We’ll just try to get in a really good practice round on Sunday and go from there.”

While some course acclimation is necessary for the Cyclones, the change of scenery in the Southeast will be welcoming for Aussies Ruben Sondjaja and Sam Daley.

“I like South Carolina courses because it’s the same type of grass I grew up on,” Daley, a native of Wynnum, Australia, said. “It’s all Bermuda, pretty much.”

While Daley’s and Sondjaja’s comfort with the playing conditions may levy a slight advantage, it could be for naught if the Cyclones get off to another slow start. Iowa State has posted its highest, or tied for highest, round in the first round in five of six tournaments during the 2014-15 season.

In the team’s last tournament, the National Invitational Tournament, the pattern continued. The Cyclones rallied from 10th place after a score of 299 with rounds of 289 and 287 to finish in fifth place.

The Cyclones can be credited for their resiliency — they have improved upon their first round standing in all six tournaments this season — but they can also be scorned for their inability to come out of the gate firing.

“I think we’re capable of a lot more,” Tank said of a team that has placed between fourth and sixth in three spring tournaments. “I’m just a bit frustrated with the fact that we are not finishing better as a team. Having these great final rounds to move us up to where it’s sort of respectable is getting a little old.”

Players and coaches have yet to pinpoint a solution to their first-round woes, though they have some ideas as to what may be hampering them.

“We had a team meeting about putting too high of expectations on ourselves and we kind of had a good discussion as a team, so hopefully we can implement what we we’re talking about,” Daley said. “We’re in our own way a bit too much at the moment.”

In the first round, Iowa State will be grouped with No. 25/27 North Florida and No. 88/89 Charleston Southern for a 7:30 a.m. CST tee time Monday.

Redshirt junior Collin Foster, who has split time in the starting lineup with sophomore Jack Carter, will get the nod this week. He joins full-time starters Sam Daley, Scott Fernandez, Ruben Sondjaja and Nick Voke.