Iowa State men's golf had just finished its seventh tournament of the season in second place at the Colleton River Collegiate in Bluffton, South Carolina with a season-best second place finish. Head Coach Andrew Tank and his team were gearing up to carry their momentum into the National Invitational Tournament in Tuscon, Arizona, until their season was cut short.
The Big 12 conference issued a statement before the event began, announcing that all conference and non-conference competitions were canceled through the end of the academic year for all sports, due to fear of spreading COVID-19.
Peaking at the right time
The Cyclones were beginning to play some of their best golf of the season when it mattered. They opened with three top 10 finishes as a team to begin the spring season. With only three tournaments remaining before postseason play, it looked like they were peaking at the right time.
Most recently, at the Colleton River Collegiate, the Cyclones finished in second place. With their season-high finish, Lachlan Barker (T3), Sam Vincent (T9), and Frank Lindwall (T9) all had their highest individual finishes of the season respectively.
Production (or lack thereof) outside of Kinney was the biggest detriment of the Cyclones' success throughout the season. When they were able to find low scores outside of their senior leader, the team-wide success came with it.
In their four tournaments finishing in eighth place or better as a team, four golfers were able to finish in the top 50 in all four events. They were not able to find that production in the three tournament where they finished outside of the top eight.
Barker, Vincent and Lindwall's recent success was setting Iowa State up for better opportunities down the stretch of the season.
Life without Tripp Kinney and Sam Vincent
For Iowa State's two seniors, Kinney and Vincent, the end comes at a time where both were finding their respective strides on the course.
Kinney had been the heart and sole of Iowa State's team the past four season's and his production will be difficult to replace. His long list of accolades and success would be nearly impossible for any program in the country to replace.
He finished as the first player in school history to compete in three NCAA Championships and he was likely well on his way to a fourth. He broke the program's season stroke average with an average score of 71.08 as a junior, and he was on pace to break his own record this year, as he was averaging 70.88.
He also was only the second Cyclone to qualify to the fourth round of stroke play at the NCAA meet. He has many more accolades, but he will not be able to add to his trophy case. The Waukee, Iowa, native's production will be hard to replace come next season.
Vincent was coming off a season-high tournament finish in ninth place at the Colleton River Collegiate. This was his highest collegiate finish since finishing in seventh place in the same event as a sophomore. The Hamilton, New Zealand, native was beginning to play some of the best golf of his Cyclone career, but his time as a Cyclone has come to an abrupt end.
But life for Iowa State men's golf will have to continue without two of its most productive golfers.
It will begin with the junior trio of Ricky Costello, Frank Lindwall and Lachlan Barker will be asked to take the next step next season. Sophomores Bryce Hammer, Danny Daniels along with freshmen Bailey Arnott and Jackson Kalz will have an expanded role, as they competed in only three tournaments combined in the 2019-20 campaign.
There has been no news of any recruits in place for next season's class, and it might be difficult to for coach Tank and his staff to work in that area due to increased travel bans across the world. The NCAA has also put a temporary dead period on sport-wide recruiting until April 15, due to the fear of spreading COVID-19.