Iowa State's men's golf team looked to start the season off on the right foot this weekend at the Badger Invitational. They return all eight golfers from last year, and started the season on the exact same course.
The team played well — highlighted by Tripp Kinney placing third overall and shooting under par all three days — but they let their top-five finish slip away on the final day.
Tripp Kinney starts senior season strong
Preseason Third-Team All-American is a great way to get a senior season rolling before hitting the greens. Tripp Kinney was able to get national attention prior to the season's start, and so far he has not disappointed.
Kinney shot 70-68-68 over the three days of competition in Madison, totaling 10 strokes under par, which placed him in third place out of every single golfer competing. However, he missed out on a medal by two strokes to Nevada's Sam Harned.
He led the team in scoring as he did for most of last season, with one of the only exceptions coming in this same tournament last year, when he shot an 80 on the first day but was able to recover nicely and end at four over.
Strong second day primed team for top-five finish
After the second day of competition, the Cyclones were looking very well as a team, and found themselves in fourth place heading into Tuesday. They were able to improve from two over to two under between the first and second days, and surpassed Rutgers to snag fourth place going into day three.
"We played solid as a team... a couple more putts went in and we did some basics pretty well that day," said coach Andrew Tank.
This was a strong team effort, but only two golfers found themselves under par that day. Kinney shot a 68 and slotted himself tied for first individually, and Ricky Costello was able to squeeze under par by one stroke, shooting his best 18 holes of the invitational.
"I was happy to see his progression," Tank said. "[We] did a good job of improving, he drove the ball well and didn't have a single bogey on his card that day."
Struggles on final day doom Cyclones
As successful as the middle day was for the team, the final day was one they wish they could redo. Kinney shot another 68, but the next best score was a 73 from Sam Vincent, his best of the three days.
The team found themselves tied for eighth when it was all said and done, and there's certainly something left to be desired, seeing as they were inserted firmly in the top five after the first two days.
"A bunch of sloppy mistakes piled up on us," Tank said. "We have some work to do to clean up those unforced errors."
The other competition didn't do the Cyclones any favors. They saw a Notre Dame team shoot 14 under par as a team, as well as seven other teams going under par. Iowa State was only three strokes away from sixth place, which belonged to Coastal Carolina.
The golfers certainly each saw their share of strong performances, especially considering some of the first-meet jitters that surely were present to a certain degree.
Seeing as this is only the first handful of rounds with many more to come as the season progresses, the team will look to build off of this and continue the forward progress heading into next weekend, a two-day event hosted by Northwestern.