Iowa State Back In NCAA Regional
AMES, Iowa – The Iowa State men’s golf team was busy making final preparations for the 2014 Columbia Regional during the week. The Cyclones earned the No. 9 seed at the Regional, May 15-17 at The Club at Old Hawthorne in Columbia, Mo.
The Cyclones, ranked 43rd nationally by Golfweek, are making their eighth NCAA Regional appearance in school history (1991, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2012, 2014).
Iowa State head coach Andrew Tank has energized the Cyclone men’s golf program during his four-year tenure. In the last three years, the Cyclones have produced five All-Big 12 players, two All-Americans and qualified for two NCAA Regionals.
“This is a big step forward for us,” Tank said. “I feel like this year we played real solid throughout the whole season. I also feel like we are in a better position this year to advance to nationals, where maybe two years ago where we were just happy to be in a regional for the first time in 13 years.”
Tank is excited the Cyclones will be heading to familiar territory. The Cyclones competed in the Columbia Regional Preview at The Club at Old Hawthorne in the fall, finishing second among 11 teams. Three Cyclones placed in the top-10 that week, led by All-American Scott Fernandez, who finished fourth (73-70-68=211). Freshmen Ruben Sondjaja tied for sixth at 214, firing a final-round 66 en route to the competitive course record.
The par-72 layout will play at 7,141 yards with a course rating of 74.8. Teams will play 54 holes (18 holes each day).
“Four of our players have played the golf course,” Tank said. “Sam (Daley) and Scott (Fernandez) also played it as freshmen. They are familiar with the golf course and they know what to expect. That just makes preparing easier and it takes a little bit of the stress off the practice round, because the guys know what kind of shots they may see and need to work on. It’s definitely a comfortable feeling when you go to a place where you have been before.”
The low five team scores and low individual not among the top-five teams will advance to the NCAA Championship, May 23-28 at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan.
Iowa State is led by Fernandez, who has a team-low stroke average of 71.94 and a team-best six top-10 finishes. Fernandez, who is ranked No. 103 nationally by Golfweek, will be playing in his third-straight NCAA Regional. The junior qualified as an individual in his All-American 2013 campaign.
Sondjaja has had an outstanding rookie season for the Cyclones. He ranks fourth on the team in scoring (72.97) and he tied the school record for low 18-hole round with a 64 at the ASU Thunderbird Invitational. Sondjaja earned Big 12 All-Tournament honors after tying for ninth at the Big 12 Championship.
Junior Sam Daley is perhaps the hottest Cyclone heading into NCAA Regional action. Daley is coming off an impressive showing at the Big 12 Championship where he earned runner-up medalist honors, the best finish by a Cyclone in the history of the Big 12 meet. Daley shot rounds of 72-74-69-71 to earn All-Tournament honors.
Daley is averaging 72.73 strokes per round and has three top-10 finishes.
Unfortunately for the Cyclones, they will have to go to Columbia without one of their top players in freshman Nick Voke, who suffered an injury and is unable to compete.
Sophomore Collin Foster and freshman Jack Carter will round out ISU’s lineup in the postseason. Foster, who has a 75.89 stroke average, tallied his first career top-10 performance at the Hawkeye Invitational in April.
2014 NCAA Columbia Regional Participants- in order by seed
Oklahoma State, Virginia, LSU, Arkansas, Arizona State, Iowa, San Diego State, Missouri, Iowa State, Middle Tennessee, Ohio State, Denver, Loyola (Md.), Bryant
You can follow all the live scoring at the NCAA Columbia Regional at Golfstat.com.
For more information on the NCAA Columbia Regional, click here.