Cyclones End Fall Season in Nation's Top-40
AMES, Iowa – The Iowa State men’s golf program is making a resurgence on the national scene in head coach Andrew Tank’s fourth season at the helm.
The Cyclones had a fantastic fall campaign, finishing runner-up three times in their five fall tournaments. Their strong performance in the first half of the season propelled the Cyclones into the national rankings for the first time in recent memory.
Iowa State ended the fall season ranked 40th nationally by Golfweek. For the first time in school history, both men’s and women’s golf teams at Iowa State were rated in the top-25 during the season.
Tank is proud of his team’s efforts, as the goal of making it to NCAA Regionals for the second time in the last three seasons appears to be likely.
“There were a lot of positive signs in the fall and I feel really good about the direction we are heading,” Tank said. “Our freshmen were big part of our success. They contributed right from the start and there is a lot of competition amongst the guys to get into the lineup.”
It’s been a total team effort for the Cyclones so far this year. ISU’s top four all have at least one top-10 finish and season stroke averages below 73.20.
At the top of ISU’s list is junior All-American Scott Fernandez (Granada, Spain), who is one of the most decorated players in school history. Fernandez, who has a 72.35 scoring mark, has two top-10 finishes this season to give him 16 in his career, two shy of the school mark. Fernandez is ranked 173rd nationally according to Golfweek.
The two biggest surprises to the season is the play of a pair of freshmen in Nick Voke (Auckland, New Zealand) and Ruben Sondjaja (Sydney, Australia). The duo has been a key part of ISU’s improvement, combining for five top-10 showings.
Voke, who recently participated in the Asia-Pacific Amateur, is on pace to shatter all rookie records at Iowa State. Voke is the highest-rated Cyclone (126th by Golfweek) and leads the team in stroke average (71.92), top-10 finishes (3) and sub-70 rounds (3). The current freshman scoring mark is held by Fernandez at 73.18 (2011-12).
Meanwhile Sondjaja is third on the team in stroke average (72.64) and has a pair of top-10 finishes. Sondjaja carded a 66 in the third round of the Columbia Regional Preview, tying for the lowest 18-hole score ever recorded by a Cyclone rookie.
The future looks extremely bright with these two guys in the lineup for three more years.
“I knew Nick and Ruben were capable of helping us out right away, but to see them actually do it is really exciting,” Tank said.
The Cyclones also received outstanding play from junior Sam Daley (Wynnum, Australia). Daley posted a stroke average of 73.14 and had one top-10 showing.
Iowa State will get to utilize its brand new Golf Performance Center in the off-season to hone their skills, as the team will begin its spring competition on Feb. 21-23 at the Desert Intercollegiate.
“It was great to see what we are capable of, but at the same time the guys didn’t feel like they played their best,” said Tank. “We are excited we are heading in the right direction, but they guys want more and are hungry to get a team victory and finish the season in the top-25. The goal is to have a great spring, make it to regionals and get to nationals.”