CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – The 10th annual Golfweek Conference Challenge is not short on teams coming in hot.
The University of Iowa serves as host of the annual three-day, 54-hole stroke-play tournament, set to tee off Sunday from the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Country Club (a 1915 Donald Ross design) with 16 teams from 16 different conferences taking part.
The Hawkeyes enter this tournament off a strong season opener in which they threatened for the title at the Gopher Invitational before finishing third, a shot behind preseason No. 15 Texas and just four back of preseason No. 2 Oklahoma.
Campbell likely has the most birdies to boast early in the 2018-19 season, as the Camels torched their season-opening Golfweek Program Challenge to the tune of 48 under in an impressive 34-shot win.
It also could be Southern Illinois riding highest at the moment. The Salukis went to Indiana University’s Fuzzy Zoeller Intercollegiate last week and fired the school’s lowest 54-hole score in over a decade in a dream 10-shot victory.
And those are just the hottest teams.
UCLA is the highest ranked squad in the field from 2017-18 season (finishing that campaign No. 26 in the country) and one of four programs from California in the field this week.
There are squads from the West Coast, Northeast, Midwest and the South at the Golfweek Conference Challenge, a mix that presents a unique opportunity.
“I think one of the cool things about this event is it brings in so many teams that we don’t get a chance to see a lot, so it’s kind of hard to say what to expect,” said Tyler Stith, Iowa’s head coach. “There’s just so many teams that we don’t really know a lot about, but I think that’s what kind of keeps the event original every single year. We just get such a wide range of teams from all over the country.”
No non-Power Five squad has ever captured the title at this event, but that doesn’t mean any team is being taken lightly this week. It will be an interesting early-season test for all in the Midwest.
Below is a closer look at all the details from Cedar Rapids:
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What: Golfweek Conference Challenge
Where: The Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Country Club
When: Sept. 16-18
Format: 54-hole stroke play
- Arkansas State (Sun Belt)
- Ball State (MAC)
- Boston College (ACC)
- Campbell (Big South)
- Dayton (Atlantic 10)
- Furman (Southern Conference)
- Iowa (Big Ten)
- Jacksonville (ASUN)
- Jacksonville State (Ohio Valley)
- Kansas State (Big 12)
- Loyola Marymount (WCC)
- Sacramento State (Big Sky)
- San Jose State (Mountain West)
- Southern Illinois (Missouri Valley)
- UCLA (Pac-12)
- UTEP (Conference USA)
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2017, Cedar Rapids CC – North Carolina State (ACC)
2016, Spirit Hollow GC – Kansas (Big 12)
2015, Spirit Hollow GC – Iowa (Big Ten)
2014, Spirit Hollow GC – LSU (SEC)
2013, Spirit Hollow GC – Oklahoma (Big 12)
2012, Spirit Hollow GC – Missouri (SEC)
2011, Spirit Hollow GC – Arkansas (SEC)
2010, Spirit Hollow GC – Iowa (Big Ten)
2009, Blue Top Ridge – Florida State (ACC)
2017, Cedar Rapids CC – Benjamin Shipp (North Carolina State)
2016, Spirit Hollow GC – Chandler Phillips (Texas A&M), Chase Hanna (Kansas)
2015, Spirit Hollow GC – Raymond Knoll (Iowa), Jeremy Gandon (Kansas State)
2014, Spirit Hollow GC – Stewart Jolly (LSU)
2013, Spirit Hollow GC – Scott Vincent (Virginia Tech), Stewart Jolly (LSU)
2012, Spirit Hollow GC – Jace Long (Missouri)
2011, Spirit Hollow GC – Stephan Jaeger (Chattanooga)
2010, Spirit Hollow GC – Chris Brant (Iowa), Vince India (Iowa)
2009, Blue Top Ridge – Drew Kittleson (Florida State), Brad Hopfinger (Iowa)