Freshman Ian Vandersee’s 5-under-par 66 today was the low round of the day and ignited Iowa’s final-round rally at the NCAA men’s golf regional in Athens, Ga., earning the Hawkeyes a coveted spot in the NCAA finals.
In the Bowling Green, Ky., regional, Iowa State’s Nate McCoy closed with a 71 and became the first Cyclone to make the NCAA finals since 1953 when he qualified individually.
The NCAA finals will be May 29-June 3 at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Vandersee, a former West Des Moines Valley prep, had six birdies and one bogey on his card and turned in his low round as a collegian.
“This is the first day I put it all together,” Vandersee told the Register after his round today. “I putted well and chipped well all week. Today, I finally started to knock it close. That led to success.”
The Hawkeyes, in 11th place starting the final round, finished fifth with a 54-hole total of 866, 14 over par. Iowa finished one shot ahead of New Mexico for the final spot to the finals. Two-time defending NCAA champion Augusta State finished two shots behind the Hawkeyes.
This will be Iowa’s third finals appearance in the last four years under coach Mark Hankins, who had to replace Vince India and Brad Hopfinger, who own the two lowest stroke averages in school history, from a team that tied for 10th nationally a season ago. Vandersee, a redshirt freshman, took the lead role Saturday.
“Ian is really dedicated to golf,” Hankins said. “When he gets in that zone, he hits it as good as anybody. Today he played better than everyone in the field. He’ll use this as something to draw upon the entire summer, and the future. It’s a defining moment for anyone, to shoot the low round the final day of regionals.”
The Hawkeyes had a 1-over 285 in today’s final round. Sophomore Steven Ihm shot an even-par 71 while seniors Barrett Kelpin and Chris Brant and freshman Joseph Winslow all shot 74s. The low four scores count each day.
Alabama, ranked fourth nationally, won the regional with an 828 total, 24 under par and 15 shots clear of the field. East Carolina (853), North Florida (858) and host Georgia (866) also advanced.
McCoy, a Dowling Catholic prep who has already qualified for the Canadian Tour when his college career ends, shot 73-68-71 to tie for sixth at 4-under 212. All the players who finished ahead or tied with McCoy qualified with their teams, giving him the wildcard spot. McCoy avoided a playoff for that spot when Ethan Tracy of Arkansas missed a 10-foot birdie putt on the final hole.
This is the first time an Iowa State golfer has made the NCAA finals since the regional format was incorporated in 1989. The Cyclones made the NCAA finals as a team in 1953.
Iowa State tied for ninth at the Bowling Green regional at 886, 22 shots over par. In addition to McCoy’s 71 today, Scott Fernandez posted a 73, Borja Virto a 74 and Duncan Croudis and Sam Daley 75s. This was the Cyclones’ first NCAA appearance as a team since 1999.
Category: Iowa men's golf