Cyclones Gear Up For Big 12 Championship
AMES, Iowa – The best golfers in the nation will congregate to Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan., for the 2013 Big 12 Men’s Golf Championship, April 22-24.
Iowa State head men’s golf coach Andrew Tank, now in his third season, is taking his second team to Prairie Dunes for the Big 12 Championship. Prairie Dunes hosted the tournament in 2011 and is playing host to its 11th Big 12 Men’s Golf Championship.
Lined with native Kansas prairie grass, Prairie Dunes annually ranks as one of the best courses in the Midwest. The challenging par-70, 6,759-yard layout has hosted numerous USGA national championships, including the 2002 U.S. Women’s Open Championship.
Six out of the nine Big 12 teams are ranked in the latest top-50 according to Golfweek, including No. 3 Texas and No. 6 TCU. Texas, the defending national champion, is led by Brandon Stone, the nation’s No. 3-ranked golfer.
Lurking behind Stone in the national rankings is Iowa State sophomore Scott Fernandez, who is posting one of the greatest seasons in school history. With seven top-5 finishes in eight tournaments this season, Fernandez, who is ranked seventh nationally by Golfstat, has the capability of winning any tournament he’s competing in. Next week will be no different.
“It’s truly amazing what Scott has accomplished this season,” Tank said. “He continues to improve. He continues to push himself to get better and the consistency he has shown this year has really been incredible. I think his best golf is still ahead of him and he has an opportunity in the next month to create even more history.”
Fernandez has been on a tear. A native of Granada, Spain, Fernandez has been in the 60s in six of his last nine rounds and leads the team with a 70.96 stroke average, which is on pace to shatter the single-season school record set last season by Nate McCoy.
The Cyclones have been much more consistent in the spring, finishing sixth, fifth, seventh and sixth, respectively, in their last four tournaments. Iowa State is currently ranked 89th nationally by Golfstat.
There isn’t a player on the current ISU roster which competed at Prairie Dunes two years ago, but the Cyclones do have players with Big 12 Championship experience.
“We are going to go down there and learn about the golf course as much as we can,” Tank said. “You are rewarded at Prairie Dunes if you drive the ball straight and have a good short game. Those will be our priorities this week in practice as we get ready.”
Sam Daley, a sophomore from Wynnum, Australia, will appear in his second-straight Big 12 Championship for the Cyclones. Daley is the only Cyclone to play in all 29 rounds this season, ranking second on the team in stroke average at 75.03. Daley is ISU’s top-returning finisher at the conference meet, tying for 18th last season.
You can follow the Cyclones at the Big 12 Championship at Golfstat.com.