Iowa State men's golf ended play at the Hootie at Bulls Bay Invitational tournament Tuesday afternoon, finishing in sixth place out of 15 teams.
The Cyclones earned their fifth top-10 finish of the spring season by gathering an overall team score of 861 (287-292-282 = 861).
Barker and Kinney notch another top-10 performance
Both Tripp Kinney and Lachlan Barker have been the most consistent golfers for the Cyclones all season, with each having three top-10 finishes for the 2018-19 season heading into this tournament.
Barker and Kinney added No. 4 to the list as both Cyclones finished in the top-10 once again.
Kinney and Barker both tied for eighth place and shot par or under in all three rounds of the tournament.
Kinney along with Barker shot 212 for the tournament, 69-72-71 for Kinney and 70-72-70 for Barker.
Kinney got hot early, finding himself in fifth place after the conclusion of the first round. The junior from Waukee, Iowa shot -3 (69) with three birdies and no bogeys to begin his tournament play.
Barker was not too far behind, sitting in 14th place after the first round. Barker shot -2 (70) with five birdies and two bogeys.
In the first round, Barker and Kinney combined to shoot half of Iowa State's birdies.
Head coach Andrew Tank said that it was good to see the two playing well during every round of the tournament and said that Kinney and Barker played 'steady' in each round.
"[Kinney and Barker] were huge for us," Tank said. "We definitely are looking for them play well every time we go out there because they have been our best scorers during the year."
The second round proved to be a struggle for the team, as no Cyclone shot under par and the team shot +4 for the day.
Despite the team's overall misfortunes, Barker and Kinney both shot even (72) and once again combined for half of Iowa State's birdie total.
"I don’t need to overthink it, it's golf, we didn't play well," Kinney said. "The second round got more difficult and it was the biggest grind of the entire week."
The final round didn't turn out to be anything new for both Barker and Kinney, as both Cyclones shot under par and combined for only four bogeys.
Barker shot two-under-par (70) and Kinney carded a one-under-par round (71).
"I am playing with freedom right now and so is everyone else," Barker said. "I am not scared to make birdies because we have been talking about that this week about when you hit good shots, you can't be afraid of it."
Recovering from another bad round
One consistency besides the play of Barker and Kinney this year for Iowa State has been the multiple holes the Cyclones have had to dig out of to salvage their tournament results.
Tank worked on a strategy before the Cyclones' last tournament at the National Invitational to have the team be more upbeat between rounds and to have energy that feels similar to the feelings the team gets when they are back in Ames.
Barker and other players were hoping from that tournament on that the Cyclones would be focused from round-to-round. Iowa State did not want to give up positioning on the leaderboards at tournaments any longer.
The issue reared its ugly head once again at Hootie at Bulls Bay for the Cyclones.
"The biggest problem for the second round and the tournament was how things were leading to double bogeys or more," Tank said. "We need to minimize mistakes, otherwise nothing else will matter."
Iowa State shot +4 over par (292) for the second round, with no Cyclone shooting under par.
Each Cyclone shot at least four bogeys, as every golfer fell on the indivdual standings.
Luckily for Iowa State, the team didn't lose its spot in 8th place, unlike previous tournaments where the Cyclones would have to regain their spot coming into the final round of play.
This time around, the Cyclones didn't stay put in eighth or falter in round three, rather, they climbed up the standings.
The Cyclones saved their best round for last, shooting -6 (282). The final round proved to be best round of tournament for Iowa State (287-292-282=861).
"Our final round showed us that we are capable of great golf as a team," Tank said. "The difference between us finishing sixth and 12th was how we finished on the last six holes."
20 birdies were tallied in the final round by the Cyclones, the most they had of any round in the tournament.
Four of the five golfers for the Cyclones shot under par, having every Cyclone grabbing at least three birdies.
"We really salvaged a finish," Barker said. "We beat the No. 2 ranked team in the country, Duke, so that is something to be happy about."
When stats or projections have been brought to the Cyclones' attention this season, they have payed little attention to what numbers say and rather focused on preparing mentally for every contest.
However, one statistic the Cyclones did not ignore was the fact that they — along with Middle Tennessee State — had the most birdies of any team at the tournament with 53 in total.
"I was getting under par early and that calms you down," Barker said. "Every round I birdied the first and last hole, which was difficult because of how short the putting was on the course."
Barker had 24.5 percent of Iowa State's 53 birdies with 13. Barker said he felt a positive vibe after every round.
"It tells you a lot about us that we had that many birdies," Tank said. "South Carolina made less birdies than us but won because they had less bogies and double bogies, so if we focus on those more than what we are already good at, then we will improve."