Iowa Golf Establishing Itself as a Top Program

By: John Sears, TV9 Sports

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By James Steward

IOWA CITY - When you think of the top collegiate golf programs across the country, Iowa is probably not on that list.

But maybe they should be.

The Hawkeyes are currently ranked 14th and boast one of the top players in the country.

"They're a little bit more comfortable being in this position, being in the Top 15, being in the top 10," Hawkeyes Coach Mark Hankins said.

It's a position the Hawkeyes are getting used to but don't have a lot of experience with. Iowa has just one NCAA championship appearance in the last 15 years. That came in 2009. Last year they fell one shot short in the Regionals and ended up 36th.

"That definitely bothered us a little bit, but at the same time we learned from it and we've moved on to different things this year, forgot about it" said senior Brad Hopfinger.

"When we got to NCAA Regionals, we won't be in any state of shock from whoever we see. We might be one of the highest ranked teams there and probably will be, says Hankins"

"Gave us a little sour taste in our mouth since that sixth place finish and ultimate failure, that we've turned a new corner in Iowa golf," said senior Vince India.

With everyone back from last year's team, the Hawkeyes have won four tournaments already this year, but they have bigger goals.

"Big picture we want to win a Big 10 championship, get back to the NCAA finals and see what we can do there," Hopfinger said.

"I think we realize the time with this squad is winding down this will probably be one of the better teams we'll have in a long time," India said.

India is one of the better players Iowa has ever had. The 5 foot 11 inch Senior packs a punch and is ranked 8th individually.

"I like to say I'm the self proclaimed pound-for-pound longest hitter in the NCAA," India said with a smile.

"[I weigh] 143 and I've never deviated in the last 6 months from that."

The Hawkeyes host the 11-team Taylor Invitational this weekend. Admission is free. Play begins Saturday morning at 8am.

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