No. 11 Iowa wins invite
India captures low medalist award, leads Hawkeyes to victory
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- No. 11 Iowa captured its seventh tournament title under head coach Mark Hankins Sunday, taking the Hawkeye-Taylormade Invitational championship with a 36-hole total of 589 (+13). Senior Vince India earned medalist honors for the third time in his career, firing a two-round score of 142 (-2). He shared medalist honors with Charlotte's Andy Sajevic. The Hawkeye-Taylormade Invitational was held at Finkbine Golf Course in Iowa City.
"We were ready to go from the first hole today," Hankins said. "We got off to a good start, we had five guys in the tournament the whole day. A lot of guys around even par, and that was good enough, the course played tough this week."
This is the first tournament championship of the spring for Hankins and the Hawkeyes, after recording a third place finish at the LSU Collegiate Invitational in their last competition two weeks ago. Iowa won four-straight tournaments during the fall season.
All three of India's first place finishes have come during his senior campaign. He earned medalist honors at the Conference Golfweek Challenge and Baylor Intercollegiate in the fall. India entered the Hawkeye-Taylormade Invitational ranked No. 8 in the country.
Iowa edged Missouri by three strokes for the team title, as the Tigers finished in a tie for second with UNC-Charlotte at +16 (592). The Hawkeyes put away a tough Missouri team, who had won four straight tournaments entering the Hawkeye-Taylormade Invitational.
The battle for the team championship was tight throughout the final round. Missouri entered Sunday with a one shot lead, and held the same advantage heading into the back nine, as both the Tigers and Hawkeyes recorded a team score of three-over par on the front side. Iowa shaved three strokes off its team score on the back, firing even par, while Missouri struggled to close with a six-over par on the back side.
UNC-Charlotte started Sunday in fifth place, but a team score of five-under par 283 bolted the 49ers into the second place tie.
India led the Hawkeyes Sunday, firing a one-under par 71 to claim a share of medalist honors. India held a one-stroke lead over UNC-Charlotte's Sajevic heading into the final hole, but his par putt to earn outright medalist honors lipped out, circling the entire hole and coming to rest on the edge. Battling windy and cold weather throughout the weekend, India led the field in par four scoring, finishing -1 for the tournament. He also had the second-most birdies for the weekend with seven.
Sajevic shot three-over par Saturday and started Sunday on the fifth hole. After a par, he trimmed three strokes with an eagle on six and a birdie on seven. Bogeys on nine and 14 brought him back to +2 for the tournament, but another eagle-birdie stretch on 15 and 16 put him at -1, just one stroke off the lead. Sajevic then birdied the first hole to get to -2, and finished with two pars to tie India.
"Vince played really solid all day," Hankins said. "He started well, stayed patient and made some clutch putts when he needed to. He made a couple of birdies mid-round that got him going and continued to play well through the finish."
Iowa's Brad Hopfinger tied for 10th place with a 148 (+4). He shot an even par 72, recording a 36 on both the front and back at Finkbine. Hopfinger had four birdies, two bogeys and one double bogey on the afternoon.
Barrett Kelpin and Brad George tied for 17th place with a 151 (+7). Kelpin was clutch for Iowa down the stretch, carding birdies on three-straight holes at 15, 16 and 17 to help separate the Hawkeyes from Missouri and UNC-Charlotte. George recorded one of just eight eagles in the tournament, carding a three on the par-5 15th hole, en route to his top 20 finish.
Chris Brant was close behind his teammates, finishing in a tie for 20th place with a 152 (+8). Brant also helped Iowa claim the tournament trophy in the final holes, draining a birdie and four-straight pars to close his round.
The Hawkeyes also had three team members compete as individuals over the weekend. James Reiss tied for 37th with a 155 (+11), to pace the Hawkeye individuals. Jared Walahoski finished tied for 42nd with a 156 (+12), while Jed Dirksen tied for 55th with a 160 (+16).
The signature 13th hole at Finkbine had the highest scoring average for the tournament, with the field playing the hole at an average of +0.98 over par. In a total of 118 rounds on the weekend, No. 13 only yielded six birdies and 55 pars. Twenty six players bogeyed, 28 players double bogeyed and three players had scores higher than a double bogey.
Finkbine's sixth hole had the lowest stroke average at -0.15 under par. Five eagles and 38 birdies were tallied on the sixth.