Idaho ends regular season with second-place finish in Iowa, Iacolucci places in top five
With a second place finish in the 12-team field of the Hawkeye-Great River Entertainment Invitational, the Idaho men’s golf team should feel pretty good as it heads into the Big Sky Conference Championship — which starts next Monday in Angels Camp, California.
Idaho may be finding its groove at the right time of the season as it also took second in its previous invitational, the Wyoming Cowboy Classic. The Vandals have finished in the top five in every invitational this spring except for the first one.
At the Hawkeye invitational, junior Rylee Iacolucci led the charge for the Vandals. He tied for fourth after firing a 6-under-par 210.
Idaho coach John Means said Iacolucci has changed his attitude and he doesn’t let a bad shot affect him anymore.
“He continues to think about the next shot, which is what you have to do in this game,” Means said. “He’s been able to play the kind of golf that he’s capable of playing.”
Two of Iacolucci’s teammates finished right behind him. Sophomore Jared du Toit and freshman Dan Sutton tied for seventh after carding 5-under-par 211 scores.
Means said he thinks Sutton’s success stems from him being more comfortable. He said the freshman has always been confident, but now he is more comfortable with his teammates and school. Sutton didn’t speak much during the first semester, but now he talks to his teammates more often, Means said.
Sophomore Ryan Porch tied for 32nd with a 5-over-par 221 and senior Aaron Cockerill tied for 38th with an 8-over-par 224. Means said it was Cockerill’s worst invitational of his Idaho career.
“Even though Aaron played very poorly, everybody else was right in the hunt and we used those scores when we needed them and they did a good job, and we had a chance to beat a very, very good team in Iowa State,” Means said. “We were in the hunt.”
Wichita State’s Louis Cohen Boyer separated himself from the competition as he shot 16-under-par 200, seven strokes better than the second-place finisher Sam Daley from Iowa State. Minnesota’s Jose Mendez took third with a 7-under-par 209.
Idaho, like it has been all year, proved it can play with tough competition. The Vandals are ranked No. 66 in the nation according to Golfweek as of Sunday after the Hawkeye invitational concluded.
Iowa State, now ranked No. 41, won the invitational by five strokes over Idaho. The Cyclones shot a 17-under-par 847, the Vandals shot a 12-under-par 852 and the No. 44-ranked Iowa took third shooting a 11-under-par 853.
Means said beating a nationally ranked Big-10 team on its home golf course is a great accomplishment.
“I told the guys before the tournament started that Iowa has a 24-stroke lead going into this tournament because that’s about what a home course advantage is worth, about eight shots a round,” Means said. “I said you have to play this golf course like Iowa plays it. You have to play it like the home team.”
Garrett Cabeza can be reached at email@example.com