The Iowa State men's golf team concluded its fall season by competing in the Maridoe Collegiate Invitational, finishing the tournament 11th out of 12 teams competing in Dallas.
Like other student-athletes, the Cyclones went into this year's fall outing off of a long summer break due to the COVID-19 pandemic's subsequent cancellations of last season's spring championships. The Iowa State men, in particular, spent their offseason practicing at courses in their hometowns before returning to Ames for a three-tournament fall season.
Over the past two months, the Cyclone men traveled to Texas for a test against many of the Big 12 and country's best amateur golfers. According to the latest PGA Tour University Top 25 rankings, six of its players come from the Big 12, all of whom the Cyclones faced off against this season.
Iowa State concluded the fall outing with a 10th-place finish at the Colonial Collegiate Invitational in Fort Worth, Texas, posted a 1-4 record in the Big 12 Match Play and closed out with an 11th-place showing at the Maridoe Invitational. Despite these initial team results looking quite lackluster, the Cyclones saw improvement on an individual scale as the season progressed.
Freshman Barnhart starts off strong
At the start of the season, the Cyclones traveled to the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, to participate in the Colonial Collegiate Invitational. Nine other teams took part, all from the Big 12, and from the start, the Cyclones got off to a hot start off of freshman Brock Barnhart.
Barnhart, who was playing in his very first match for Iowa State, shot a team-best score of 68 for the first round. He led all scorers for the Cyclones and was tied for third place after 18 holes. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native came to Ames off of a prep career at Kennedy High School in which he qualified for the state tournament all four years and finished as runner-up his freshman season.
Barnhart also scored eight birdies in the three rounds for the Cyclones, tying for fifth in the overall field. After that strong first round, however, Barnhart had scores of 74 and 76 in rounds 2 and 3, respectively, to finish with a tournament score of 218. He led all scorers for the Cyclones, but they still finished last out of the 10-team field with Barnhart finishing tied for 23rd individually.
Over the course of the remaining two tournaments, Barnhart produced performances that were not quite on par with his initial outing, posting a 2-3 record in Big 12 Match Play with the Cyclones going 1-4 for the tournament. He concluded the fall season with a 71st-place finish at the Maridoe Invitational with an individual score of 249 through three rounds (par 216).
Barker, Kinney lead Cyclones in individual categories
Elsewhere for the Cyclones, junior Lachlan Barker and senior Tripp Kinney set their sights on continuing each of their strong individual careers for Iowa State.
Before taking part in the fall season, the pair played in both the Western Amateur and U.S. Amateur tournaments over the summer. Each of the competitions featured some of the best amateur golfers from across the country, and both Barker and Kinney were eliminated in the preliminary rounds of these two tournaments.
Kinney entered this season with unfinished business, with the Cyclones having been on pace to qualify for their sixth NCAA regional appearance in seven seasons. The Waukee, Iowa, native also had two top-10 finishes last season, bringing his career total to 11. He was ranked No. 15 in the PGA's inaugural University Top 25 rankings.
Over these past three tournaments, Kinney's steady improvement continued, as he posted a stroke average of 74.67. This mark had him tied for best on the team, while also scoring a second-best 14 birdies in nine rounds. Kinney's best results came in the Colonial Collegiate and Big 12 Match Play. He finished tied for 28th in Colonial, which was the second-best performance for the team, while also posting a 2-2-1 record in Big 12 Match Play, tying for best on the squad. The signature win for Kinney came against Oklahoma's Quade Cummins in Big 12 Match Play, who entered the season ranked 11th in the country.
For Barker, this season also saw him entering with past individual success. The Willunga, Australia, native had a career stroke average of 71.91, which is on pace to be one of the best in Iowa State history. During this season, Barker once again posted the best stroke average on the team with 74.67, tied with Kinney.
Barker's two best performances came in Big 12 Match Play and the Maridoe Invitational. At the Big 12 Championship, Barker started off strong with two wins in his first two matches and finished the competition tied for the Cyclones' best individual record at 2-2-1.
In the Maridoe Invitational, the Cyclones once again faced nearly all Big 12 squads, as well as top golfers from Pepperdine, Coastal Carolina, North Texas and East Tennessee State. Barker wasted no time getting off to a fast start, shooting 75 and 70 in the first and second rounds, respectively (par 72). He slumped in the final round, however, scoring 79 to finish with a total score of 224 and tied for 21st. While the season is not fully over, Barker's career stroke average did increase to 71.91 after the fall portion.
It is not certain where or when the Cyclones will play again, but they do have an offseason to continue to practice for the spring closeout in this strangest of years for collegiate sports.