‘Horrendous’ first round results in eighth place finish for ISU men’s golf

Mike Randleman

At a tournament where avoiding mistakes was more crucial than hunting for birdies, the ISU men’s golf team was plagued by big numbers en route to an eighth place finish out of 12 teams competing at the David Toms Intercollegiate in Baton Rouge, La.

With a 55-over-par total of 919, the Cyclones posted their highest score, both in relation to par and in total number of strokes in a 54-hole tournament, since the Northern Illinois Intercollegiate in September 2012.

Iowa State’s result was largely a product of a slow start in the first round, where temperatures were in the 50s and winds were gusting up to 20 miles per hour. The conditions were different than what the team grew accustomed to in its’ practice round on the previous day.

“I just don’t think I had the guys prepared for those conditions,” said ISU coach Andrew Tank. “We just weren’t ready and didn’t respect the setup of the golf course with those conditions and just didn’t adjust.”

Tank was adamant in taking ownership of the lapses in strategy and decision-making that led to a 28-over-par total in the first round.

“I put that on myself,” Tank said. “I should have communicated better the reality that was going to potentially take place out there from a difficulty standpoint.”

Despite some miscommunications Tank alluded to, senior Sam Daley accepted his share of the blame.

“I did a good job this week actually of not having those high numbers, but again it’s a lot of dumb bogies, three-putts or missing easy up-and-downs,” said Daley, who was the lone Cyclone to avoid a double bogie or worse en route to a 25th-place individual finish. “I haven’t [played] that well the past two-and-a-half weeks, I’ve been struggling a bit with my consistency.”

Sophomore Ruben Sondjaja, who led the team with a 17th-place finish, also accepted responsibility in saying that he and his teammates did not bring their best games with them.

Although Sondjaja and Tank described their efforts this week as “disappointing,” they said they will use this tournament as a baseline of where the team can improve during the impending offseason.

“I think the course really pointed out our strengths and weaknesses,” Sondjaja said. “It was a very demanding golf course off the tee. I think it all gave us a little motivation to put some really good work into the offseason and highlight our weaknesses and work on them.”

Tank also said his team’s improved scores in rounds two and three were a source of optimism in what was otherwise a less than ideal week for his team that recorded runner-up finishes in its’ previous two tournaments.

“Both [Nick Voke] and Ruben improved in all three rounds,” Tank said. “Their scores got lower, as did our team score. I’m really not too concerned. It was a really bad, I’d say horrendous, first round, but we’ll just do our best to move on from it.”

Daley said playing in tough conditions against tough competition, which included champion No. 4 Louisiana State, should also pay dividends from a mental standpoint.

“It’s good because it makes us dig deep and show a little heart and try to grind out a score,” Daley said. “We know it’s not going to be easy, but you have to learn how to grind it out if you’re going to be successful.”