Cyclone men & women overcome odds as northern school to make golf field

Mark Wilson, who has won more than $12.7 million on the PGA TOUR, was college golf’s player of the year in 1996.

That was 16 years ago. That was also the last time (prior to Monday) the Iowa State men’s and women’s golf teams both qualified for the NCAA Tournament.

The 37th ranked Cyclone women’s team begins play in the NCAA West Regional Thursday and the men’s squad received its invite to the NCAA Bowling Green Regional Monday.

Coaches Christie Martens and Andrew Tank should take a bow.

When Martens was named head women’s coach in 2005, the ISU women were rated 60th nationally by Golfweek. Today, they are 37th and playing in the regional meet for the third year in a row.

When Tank assumed the reins of the men’s program two years, the Cyclone men were No. 89 in the nation by Golfweek. Today, they are 58th and playing in the regional competition for the first time since 1999.

Advancing to regional play on both the men’s and women’s sides for a northern school puts Iowa State in select company. The only institutions with both teams participating in the 2012 NCAA Regional Championship that are farther north than ISU are Oregon and Washington.

The year-round good weather in the south certainly lends itself to good play. The afore-mentioned Wilson, however, learned to play golf growing up in Wisconsin.

And, the Iowa State’s golf programs are adding to the notion that there is great golf in the north.

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