The last time the Iowa State Cyclones competed as a team in the NCAA Division I men's golf championship, Dwight Eisenhower had just been inaugurated as President of the United States, Mount Everest had still not been conquered, and Ben Hogan was on his way to winning the Masters, U.S. Open and Open Championship in the same season.
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On Sunday, the Cyclones snapped a 61-year NCAA championship appearance drought by finishing in a tie for fourth place at the regional in Columbia, Mo. That advances them to this week's championship at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan. And the Iowa State women also made history by qualifying for the NCAA Division I women's golf championship for the first time.
There are no official records kept of such a feat, but the 61-year span between appearances is believed to be the longest in NCAA golf championship history.
The Cyclones started out the final day of their regional three strokes out, but shot a combined 9-under par on the front nine en route to a school-record 270, the best round of the day.
Fourth-year head coach Andrew Tank, a native of Des Moines, was thrilled with the way his team has played this year.
"I'm not sure how to put it into words how happy I am for the guys," Tank said. "It's pretty emotional and really special. It's something as a team was our goal at the beginning of the season. We knew we could do it. But, you never know how you react once you actually achieve your goal. It's a great feeling."
Iowa State hopes the wait between championship appearances won't take another 61 years. The school has made a commitment to its golf programs, recently opening a new $2 million golf-only center that ranks among the best in the country. The facility has a spacious clubhouse and 11 greens, a pair of fairways and bunkers, rough and a water hazard for the Cyclones to practice on.
"It's going to get us a lot of attention and shine a light on the program, which we're really excited about," Tank told the Associated Press. "I knew the potential was here, and I knew with the right ingredients in place that Iowa State could be very successful. But it's happened a little bit quicker than I expected."
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