May 2016

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Page 150 of 160

151 T he University of Iowa men's golf team, one of two Big Ten Conference golf programs to advance to NCAA competition in each of the last seven seasons, knew what was on the line heading into this year's Big Ten Championships. "We knew how important it was for us to have a good weekend," said senior Nate Yankovich. "Qualifying for regionals is the first step to being able to compete for an NCAA title." Even aer notching a fih-place finish at the Arizona State underbird Invitational — an event that featured three top-25 teams — and a second- place finish at the Hawkeye-GRE Invitational earlier in the month, the Hawkeyes were still not guaranteed a spot in this year's NCAA Tournament. A big-time performance at the Big Ten Championships might have done the trick. Led by three top-10 finishers, the Hawkeyes captured a second-place finish at this year's conference tournament. It took a record-breaking performance by second-ranked Illinois in the final round to keep Iowa from winning it all, too. "I couldn't be more proud of how we played this weekend," said UI head coach Tyler Stith. "To have three players finish in the top six at the Big Ten Championships is pretty strong. "We played well enough to win Sunday. It took a record-breaking performance from a top-five team to beat us." rough two rounds, the Hawkeyes found themselves in first place with a seven-stroke lead over Maryland and an eight-stroke lead over Illinois. e Hawkeyes went on to card a 285 (-3) in the final round to end the three-day, 54-hole event at 851 (-13; 285, 281, 285). However, the Illini shot a 24-under-par 264 in the final round to leap past Iowa and win their second straight Big Ten Championship. Illinois' three-round 838 (-26; 279, 295, 264) is a Big Ten Championships record. Leading the way for the Hawkeyes was junior Carson Schaake, who tallied a three-round 210 (-6; 70, 67, 73) to finish fourth overall and earn All-Championships Team distinction. Schaake's fourth-place finish matched his best of the year and his fourth top-10 finish of the season; his 54- hole score tied for his best of the year. Joining Schaake on the All-Championships Team was fellow UI junior Raymond Knoll. e Naperville, Illinois, native jumped 15 spots on the leaderboard aer carding a final round 67 (-5) — matched Iowa's lowest round of the tournament — to capture a fih-place finish. Knoll ended the weekend at 212 (-5; 71, 74, 67) in what was his best 54-hole performance since winning the GolfWeek Conference Challenge in September. Freshman Matthew Walker tied for sixth, while Yankovich and senior Voramate Aussarassakorn tied for 14th and 60th, respectively. Iowa and 80 other schools will discover their postseason destination May 5 when the NCAA Men's Golf Championship selection show airs on the Golf Channel at 8:30 a.m. (CT).

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