Daley, ISU men’s golf take second in Arizona


Sam Daley, junior form Wynnum, Australia gets advice from head coach Andrew Tank as the Iowa State men’s golf team begins to prepare for upcoming tournaments. As the colder weather begins to subside, providing favorable conditions on the green, Tank lead the team through their first practice of the season at the Coldwater Golf Links southeast of campus.

Mike Randleman

On paper, it was a record-setting tournament for the ISU men’s golf team.

In reality, the Cyclones found a mixed bag of success that kept them near, but not at the top, of the leaderboard at tournament’s end once again.

Setting individual and team records in the process, No. 43/46 (Golfweek/Golfstat) Iowa State finished in second place out of 15 teams at the Desert Shootout, but was unable to fully capitalize on one of the easiest courses and competition the Cyclones will see all season.

“We sat for half an hour after the round and I don’t think anyone said a word,” said senior Sam Daley. “I think we’re a little disappointed, especially letting [No. 74/77] Kansas beat us. It’s another second place. I think we’ve finished second 10 or 15 times in the last three years, but we want to win.”

Although Iowa State was forced to settle for its third runner-up finish of the season, it was of little fault to Daley.

Daley led Iowa State, tying for second place in a tournament he tied his career low 18-hole total (66) and 54-hole total (206).

His performance came as a boost to a team lacking his contributions for much of the spring. The usually steady senior failed to post a sub-par round in his last three tournaments and did not break 70 this season until this week.

“I got a bit of a spite from coach [Andrew] Tank earlier on in the week just because I was carrying on a bit, I just wasn’t there mentally and not doing what I do well,” Daley said. “He told me to get my head back in a bit.”

The wake-up call paid immediate dividends, as Daley was in the mix for an individual title in the final round until a bogie on his final hole left him two shots away from medalist honors.

“Having Sam play like that is a big step for us in reaching our potential as a team,” Tank said. “We know he’s capable of that and we need that type of performance out of him to reach our goals. We got that this week, so that’s one piece of the puzzle going forward.”

The puzzle Tank alluded to refers to a search for top-to-bottom contributions that have been lacking for a team with high hopes after returning its top six contributors from last year’s team that made a run to the NCAA Championships.

Scott Fernandez and Nick Voke have been catalysts for the team in combining for four victories on the season. Both finished inside the top 12 again this week, with Fernandez tying for 10th and Voke tying for 12th.

Aside from their contributions and Daley’s finish this week, the rest of the roster has only one top-10 finish to its name and zero since October.

This week, against a field barren of top-25 teams, the Cyclones avoided a slow start that has so often crippled their tournament hopes, but could not keep up with the birdie barrage led by Kansas.

“I think we got off to a little bit better start, I think we were only a couple shots off the lead after the first round, so that’s a positive,” Tank said. “We didn’t shoot ourselves in the foot, so to speak. We just could never really get over the hump and get up on top of the leaderboard.”