ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The University of Iowa men’s golf team sits in 10th place at the NCAA Albuquerque Regional after carding an opening round 302 (+14) on Monday. The three-day, 54-hole event is being played at the University of New Mexico’s Championship Golf Course.
“The golf course played extremely difficult today,” said UI head coach Tyler Stith. “Unfortunately, we didn’t finish very well on our final stretch of holes. The good news is that we have two more rounds to play and we’re only 10 strokes out of fifth place.
“I think the biggest thing today was the wind. The hole locations were pretty difficult, but I expect that to be the case the next two days as well. Par is a good score on any hole out here, especially when the wind is blowing 20-30 miles per hour like it was today. We just have to be patient and avoid big numbers.”
No. 14 Arizona State was the only team to shoot below par in Monday’s opening round and currently leads the 14-team field after firing a 286 (-2). Rounding out the top five on the leaderboard are No. 16 South Florida (+1; 289), No. 6 USC (+3; 291), No. 30 Texas Tech (+3; 291), and TCU (+4; 292). The top five teams advance to the NCAA Championships, held in Eugene, Oregon late this month.
Junior Carson Schaake was Iowa’s lowest scorer on the day, carding a first round 74 (+2). Coming off a fourth place finish at the Big Ten Championships, Schaake’s opening round was highlighted by a string of birdies on holes 18, one, and two. He is currently tied for 24th place.
“I was not striking the ball very well today,” said Schaake. “I didn’t hit very many greens and I wasn’t chipping all that close. There were a couple of times today where I was greedy and put myself in bad spots when I had opportunity to hit the center of the green. I still made a lot of putts. I think I had seven one-putts in my first nine holes.
“Tomorrow, I’m going to come out, hit the ball better, hit some greens, and give myself chances for birdie. I think tomorrow is going to be a good day.”
One stroke behind Schaake is freshman Matthew Walker, who recorded a 75 (+3) and is currently tied for 35th on the individual leaderboard. Walker sat at even par through 15 holes before a double-bogey on hole seven and a bogey on hole eight put him at three-over-par for the day.
Nate Yankovich, the only senior in Iowa’s lineup this week, is currently tied for 40th after shooting a four-over-par 76. Yankovich recorded three birdies on the day, shooting two-over-par on both the font and back nines.
“Overall, as a team, we are right there,” said Schaake. “It’s a bunched up leaderboard and if we have a good round tomorrow, we can jump a lot of teams.”
The Hawkeyes return to the Championship Golf Course on Tuesday morning for a second round of 18. Tee times begin at 9 a.m. (CT) off the first and 10th tees. Live scoring is available at golfstat.com.