Iowa began NCAA regional play today at Tallahassee's Golden Eagle Golf and Country Club, with eyes set firmly on a berth in the NCAA Championships in Atlanta, scheduled to take place May 28-June 2. As the region's 10-seed, and qualification requiring a top 5 finish, expectations were not necessarily high, but today's performance has to be considered at least slightly disappointing.
While other teams scored seemingly at will, Iowa's best result - carded by sophomore Joseph Winslow - was an even-par 72. Iowa's star junior Steven Ihm finished 2-over, followed by sophomore Brian Billington's at +4. Both Ian Vandersee (soph), and Nathan Yankovich (frosh) managed a five-over 77 to round out the day. Luckily, only the top 4 scores count towards the team total, meaning that Iowa currently sits 299, or +11.
North Florida rode MJ Maguire's 65 (-7) to a day one total of 272 (-16), and a comfortable lead heading into the final two days. Washington is currently second, trailing by four strokes, while regional host Florida State is in third with a score of 11-under. Oregon, Georgia Tech, and South Florida share fourth at 8-under. With just four strokes the difference between T4, and T7, at least eight of the thirteen schools can feel good about their chances of reaching Atlanta.
UPDATE: For those that did not follow along, but remain curious, Iowa finished the weekend in 11th place at +16. Much better Friday and Saturday, but the poor Thursday absolutely crushed their chances of qualifying for Nationals, and ultimately left the Hawkeyes 29 strokes below the cut line. Despite the lackluster finale, Iowa had a solid season. Coach Haskins has Iowa consistently making the regionals, and it's a good sign that qualifying for the NCAA Championships is a fair annual expectation. Congratulations to the Iowa golf team on reaching the Regionals.