Huskers Go 2-0 in Big Ten Match Play
Palm Coast, Fla. -- The spring season and Big Ten Match Play Championships started off with a bang for the Nebraska men’s golf team. Competing in two 18-hole matches on Friday, the Huskers defeated both Iowa 4-2 and Purdue 3-3 (Huskers won the tiebreaker) in their first-round and quarterfinal matches, respectively.
NU, who is playing their first tournament of the spring, started off its day by winning four of the six matches against the third-seeded Hawkeyes to advance to the quarterfinals.
Coach Mark Hankins reacted to his team’s win over the team he coached from 2007-14.
“I’m just really excited for our guys,” Hankins said. “They stuck to the game plan for the most part. Some of them playing from ahead to win and others competing all day to finish strong and win their match. We prepared for tough matches and came out on top with a solid 4-2 win over a good Iowa team.”
The seedings were based off of how the 14 teams finished last year and how they competed this fall. The Hawkeyes finished third at last year’s Big Ten Championships and had one golfer make it to the NCAA Regionals.
At the No. 1 spot in the lineup, Huskers junior Tanner Owen finished one hole up on Iowa’s Alex Schaake, who finished 24th at the NCAA Regionals last season. Yankton, S.D., native Jace Guthmiller finished two holes up with one to play over Iowa’s Benton Weinberg at the No. 2 spot as well.
Iowa took victories at the No. 3 and No. 4 spots in the lineup as both Jackson Wendling and Dylan McCabe were defeated in their respective matches.
Newcomers Jay Cottam and Mitch Klooz proved to have an immediate impact on the Huskers lineup as they each won their head-to-head matchup, giving Nebraska a 4-2 victory over the 38th ranked Hawkeyes, based on GolfStat.com coming into the spring.
Jay Cottam, a Hebron, Neb., native who grad transferred from Nebraska-Kearney in January, finished one up on Iowa senior Aaron DeNucci to win his match. Liberty (Va.) transfer and Laurel, Neb., native Mitch Klooz posted the largest win in the morning as he won convincingly, up five holes with four to go.
In the afternoon, the Huskers took on the No. 6 seeded Purdue Boilermakers in the quarterfinal match. In a tight match, NU took three out of six matches as Tanner Owen, Dylan McCabe and Jay Cottam reeled off individual victories.
With the competition tied at three matches apiece, NU advanced to the Big Ten Match Play semifinals because they held the advantage in the tiebreaker, which came down to the result in the No. 1 position in the lineup, which Tanner Owen took 6&4 over Purdue’s Timmy Hildebrand.
Owen continued his solid play in the afternoon beating Purdue’s Timmy Hildebrand convincingly six holes up with four to play. The junior from Parkville, Mo., had the lowest stroke average on the team in the fall (72.60) and his victory proved to be the difference in the match.
Jace Guthmiller fell to Cole Bradley at the No. 2 spot (3&2) and Purdue’s Jarie Volden won 3&2 over Jackson Wendling to take the No. 3 match, but NU’s Dylan McCabe responded with a big time win over Joe Weller at No. 4 (2&1).
Graduate transfer Jay Cottam capped off a 2-0 day in his debut as a Husker with a strong 4&3 win over Jason Hong. Mitch Klooz ended up falling 5&4 to Andrew Lewis of the Boilermakers to finish off his first two rounds as a Husker with a 1-1 record.
The Huskers will be back in action tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. against the #10 seed Maryland Terrapins, who defeated #7 Minnesota and #2 Northwestern in their two matchups today.
How to Follow Along:
Make sure to follow along on Twitter @HuskersGolf for updates throughout the weekend. Head to BirdieFire.com for live hole-by-hole stats updates.
Results vs. Iowa: (4-2 Nebraska)
Tanner Owen (NEB) 1 up over Alex Schaake (IOWA)
Jace Guthmiller (NEB) 2&1 over Benton Weinberg (IOWA)
Gonzalo Leal (IOWA) 2&1 over Jackson Wendling (NEB)
Matthew Walker (IOWA) 5&4 over Dylan McCabe (NEB)
Jay Cottam (NEB) 1 up over Aaron DeNucci (IOWA)
Mitch Klooz (NEB) 5&4 over Jake Rowe (IOWA)
Results vs. Purdue: (3-3 with Nebraska winning the tiebreaker)
Tanner Owen (NEB) 6&4 over Timmy Hildebrand (PUR)
Cole Bradley (PUR) 3&2 over Jace Guthmiller (NEB)
Jarie Volden (PUR) 3&2 over Jackson Wendling (NEB)
Dylan McCabe (NEB) 2&1 over Joe Weller (PUR)
Jay Cottam (NEB) 1 up over Jason Hong (PUR)
Andrew Lewis (PUR) 5&4 over Mitch Klooz (NEB)