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Could Hawks be on verge of golf title?

[ 1 ] April 27, 2012 |

Iowa golf coach Mark Hankins doesn’t want to talk about winning a Big Ten Championship.

He doesn’t want to talk about Iowa placing second and third the last two seasons or being the favorite this season.

And he sure doesn’t want to talk about the fact Iowa only has won one Big Ten title (1992) in program history.

“We are trying to treat it like any other tournament,” Hankins said. “The real measurement of the season is to make it to a fourth-straight NCAA Tournament.

“We’re the highest-ranked team in the Big Ten, but there are some great teams in the Big Ten.”

Iowa tees off this morning for the 72-hole championships.

Hawkeye senior Barrett Kelpin heads into the weekend with a chance to win Player of the Year honors. He currently trails only Luke Guthrie of Illinois.

“I don’t want to get too caught up with that either,” Kelpin said. “I’m just going to go out and play four rounds, and worry about that afterward.”

The meet is at a neutral site for the first time. Twelve teams will tee off at the French Lick Resort in French Lick, Ind. The championship will be there the next three years.

“It’s a great course,” Hankins said. “I think the Big Ten Network wants a site where they know what is going on.”

Iowa is ranked 26th and is followed in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings by Indiana (37), Illinois (39), Northwestern (55) and Purdue (59).

“Winning is something that’s in the back of your mind,” Kelpin said. “But you don’t want to lose focus on the second hole of the tournament.

“It’s a marathon not a sprint out there. You have to manage your emotions and expectations.”

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Category: Iowa men's golf

About Ryan Suchomel: Reach Ryan Suchomel at 339-7368 or rsuchomel@press-citizen.com. View author profile.

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