BURLINGTON, Iowa — Senior Raymond Knoll and sophomore Matthew Walker each notched top-10 finishes to lead the University of Iowa men’s golf team to a seventh-place finish at the Golfweek Conference Challenge on Sunday at Spirit Hollow Golf Course. The Hawkeyes registered their best round of the tournament on Sunday (-4; 284) to finish with a three-round total of 874 (+10).
“Today was definitely better for us,” said UI head coach Tyler Stith. “Unfortunately, we threw away a good opportunity to shoot a really low score with Matthew (Walker) and Raymond (Knoll) being a combined nine-under. We couldn’t get anything going with the other guys. In order to get ourselves into contention we have to improve a lot. We’re looking forward to the week ahead.”
Knoll, the 2015 Golfweek Conference Challenge Champion, utilized five birdies en route to a three-under-par 69. The Naperville, Illinois, native finished third overall,recording a 54-hole total of 209 (-7; 69, 71, 69) — just three strokes behind tournament co-medalists Chase Hanna (Kansas) and Chandler Phillips (Texas A&M).
“I felt good out there,” said Knoll. “I just wanted to come out and give it another shot, especially because it’s my final year here. To play the way I did was really exciting and fun. I like this golf course; it’s a good test of golf. I’m going to miss playing here, because it’s always a confidence booster. I feel good heading into next week. I have control of my golf ball and that’s always good at this point in the season.”
Walker jumped an impressive 22 spots up the leaderboard Sunday to tie for eighth. The Ottumwa, Iowa, native carded a career-best 18-hole score of 66 (-6) on Sunday — the lowest round by any golfer in the tournament. His round was highlighted by 17 holes at par or better, including seven birdies. Walker finished the tournament with a three-round total of 214 (-2), carding rounds of 74, 74, and 66.
“It felt good to finally get some puts to drop,” said Walker. “The course is in great shape, the greens are rolling well, and I’ve always liked this course because it fits my eye. I feel good; I do have some things to fine tune, but today was a step in the right direction.”
Senior Carson Schaake and freshman Alex Schaake tied for 42nd and 45th, respectively. Carson Schaake carded a four-over-par 76 in the final round to finished with a 54-hole total of 226 (+10; 74, 76, 76). In his collegiate debut, Alex Schaake carded a 227 (+11) with rounds of 75, 77, and 75.
Sam Meuret rounded out the Hawkeye lineup. The junior tied for 50th with a three-round 230 (+14). He registered his best round of the tournament on Sunday, carding a two-over-par 74.
The Hawkeyes return to action Oct. 10-11 at the Paintbrush Intercollegiate in Denver, Colorado.