CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – The University of Iowa men’s golf team carded a five-under-par 283 in the opening round of the Golfweek Conference Challenge on Sunday. Four Hawkeyes recorded rounds at or below par at the Cedar Rapids Country Club (par-72, 7,086 yards).
Iowa is in second place through the first 18 holes. North Carolina State leads the 15-team field tournament with a 14-under-par 274. Southern Illinois sits in third place at three-under-par. North Carolina State’s Stephen Franken shot a six-under-par (66) to lead the tournament thus far.
Junior Matthew Walker and sophomore Alex Schaake led the charge for the Hawkeyes, shooting two-under-par 70. The pair is tied for eighth overall — just four strokes behind the tournament leader.
Iowa’s confidence and experience on the course showed. The team registered 16 combined birdies. Schaake led the way with five.
“We didn’t play as well as we should have last week,” Schaake said. “To come out here and put four solid rounds together feels good for us and gives us a lot of confidence going into tomorrow. We know this course, we’ve played it a few times, and we put ourselves in a good position.”
A hometown crowd for the Hawkeyes made the successful round even more rewarding.
“It’s awesome to play close to home,” Schaake said. “It’s a great atmosphere. My family is from Cedar Rapids so it’s a 10 minute drive and then I have some family from Waterloo, who made the trip. Multiple people here watching us are Hawkeye fans that aren’t related to us. Playing in front of them was really cool.”
HAWKEYES ON THE TEAM LEADERBOARD
After dealing with tough greens, Schaake and Walker sit only four strokes behind the leader (T-8). Iowa featured a balanced scoring lineup as four Hawkeyes, Schaake, Walker, Furuya, and Benton Weinberg, scored at or below par.
COACH STITH’S COMMENTS
“It’s a solid start but we have room for improvement. I am proud of the fact we didn’t count a score over par. We really enjoyed the support today from the Cedar Rapids Country Club membership and Hawkeye fans.”
Iowa is paired with North Carolina State and UNCW on Monday. The Hawkeyes will tee off at 11:00 a.m. (CT).