By SETH GOODMAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — After a month hiatus from competition, the University of Iowa men’s golf team is back in action this week as they close out the regular season hosting the Hawkeye Invitational on Saturday and Sunday at the par-71 Finkbine Golf Course.
“The guys are really excited. We had a great couple weeks of qualifying and competition at home,” said Iowa head golf coach Tyler Stith. “I know they are all eager to play in front of our home fans and family. It is a strong field of teams.”
The Hawkeyes had a unique experience with not competing in a month and being able to be at home to practice. This is something the men’s golf team is looking to take advantage of this weekend.
“We have never had this much time off in between events, so we will see, but I think it has worked out well,” added Stith. “It should be a huge advantage. The weather has been decent, so we have been able to play a lot of holes and had a lot of really good scores.”
“Having that month off and going straight into our home tournament is a huge advantage for us since we are not playing anything other than our home course,” said junior Alex Schaake.
Being able to host a tournament, especially being the last one of the season, is one that the players are looking to take advantage of and enjoy as they get to play in front of their family, friends, and fans.
“It means a lot being from Iowa to play my last tournament in Iowa in front of my family and friends. It will be fun,” said senior Matthew Walker.
To have our families come out is really special, it will feel like the GolfWeek Conference Challenge in the Fall. We are all really excited to get out there,” Schaake added.
Iowa looks to use their familiarity with the course in hopes of contending for a team and individual championship this year.
“The guys have a lot of confidence in the opportunity for us to compete to win a championship as a team and as an individual,” added Stith.
One change to this year’s tournament is that due to construction, the 10th hole has moved from a par-4 to a par-3 (170 yards), resulting in a par-71 playing 6,884 yards.
“Hopefully we can get the job done and get the win. It will be a lot of fun,” Schaake said.
The Hawkeye Invitational tees off at 9:00 a.m. (CT) with a shotgun start on Saturday, immediately followed by round two. The final round will start at 8:30 a.m. (CT) on Sunday with a shotgun start. Admission to the public is free.