ISU men’s golf finds familiar result in California

Mike Randleman

After finishing in sixth place at the Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate, the ISU men’s golf team’s future success may depend on its belief in superstition.

For the third consecutive year, the Cyclones left Palm Desert, Calif. with a sixth place finish to complete the demonic six-six-six trio of recent results found at the Classic Club course.

In the eyes of Sam Daley, who led the team by finishing in a tie for 16th place, No. 49 Iowa State’s inability to get over the sixth-place hump was dictated by a slow start and sloppy course management rather than any sort of otherworldly curse.

“Obviously it wasn’t what we wanted. [The course] was playing pretty easy but we stumbled out of the box a bit,” Daley, who led Iowa State by tying for 16th place, said. “The next two days we played OK, we still didn’t play to our potential, but it was still good to at least salvage sixth place instead of where we were after day one.”

As Daley alluded to, Iowa State had to fight to climb up the leaderboard and salvage a tournament that could have easily gone south.

After one round, the Cyclones were tied for 13th out of 24 teams and trailed several teams ranked in the 100s in Golfweek’s rankings.

Needing to find improvement to reach the top half of the leaderboard, Iowa State picked up the pace to surge past most of the mid-major competition, which composed much of the field.

In round two, Iowa State posted a seven-over-par 295, its same score from round one, but climbed up to eighth place as the Classic Club played more than 1.5 strokes harder on day two.

In round three, the Cyclones finished with a 292 to tie for the fourth-lowest final-round score and climb two more spots up to sixth place.

“We all just played mediocre, to be honest,” said sophomore Nick Voke, who tied for 23rd out of 127 golfers. “We struggled our way with a few things, each has our own challenges, but we’ll definitely use this as a springboard to go on to Arizona and seeing what we can do.”

Coach Andrew Tank expressed a similar sentiment, noting that the exposure to outdoor, competitive repetitions for a northern program like Iowa State has value, regardless of the result.

“I think it was definitely a step forward for us,” Tank said. “We didn’t play like we were capable of, but I think there’s a lot to build on. We’re just going to keep getting better with more competition and more opportunities.”

The next opportunity for Tank and his team will come quickly. The Cyclones are set to tee it up at the National Invitational Tournament on Feb. 28 in Tucson, Ariz.