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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The No. 43 ranked University of Iowa men’s golf team shattered the school 54-hole record by 24 strokes and set a tournament record with its 809 (-43) performance en route to claiming the Hawkeye Invitational title at the par-71 Finkbine Golf Course on Sunday.
Iowa posted a final round score of 270 (-14) for the third best 18-hole score in program history. This marks the Hawkeyes’ first tournament victory since the 2015 GolfWeek Conference Challenge (1st/15) and first Hawkeye Invitational win since 2014 (1st/12).
Iowa also claimed medalist honors with senior Matthew Walker and junior Alex Schaake claiming co-medalist honors — career best finishes — with a program record, tournament record, and career-best 54-hole score of 199 (-14), topping the previous school mark by four strokes. They Hawkeye duo are the first to claim medalist honors at the Hawkeye Invitational since Steven Ihm in 2014.
The Hawkeyes finished ahead of second-place No. 30 Illinois (815; -37) by six strokes and No. 31 Kansas (839; -13) by a staggering 30 strokes.
Walker posted his third straight round below par with a 66 (-5) in the final round for his 10th round at or below par this season. He sank his third career ace on the par-3, 200-yard fourth hole and added five birdies. The senior finished the tournament first in par three scoring (2.73; -4), while finishing second in par four scoring (3.81; -5) and total birdies (17). He earned his second top-10 and fourth top-20 finish this season.
Schaake carded his team-leading 16th round at or below par this season with a 64 (-7) — ties for third lowest 18-hole score in program history — as he earned his team-leading fifth top-10 and sixth top-20 finish of the season. The junior had his second eight-birdie performance of the tournament, finishing with a tournament-best 19 birdies. He also finished first in par-4 scoring, averaging 3.78 (-6).
Junior Benton Weinberg shot a personal best 54-hole total of 204 (-9) — third best 54-hole total in school history — for a career-best sixth place finish. He carded his third straight round below par and 10th of the season with a 70 (-1) in the final round. The junior earned his second top-10 and fourth top-20 finish this year.
Joe Kim posted a one-under-par 70 for his third straight round at or below par. The sophomore finished with a personal best 54-hole total of 209 (-4), tying the eighth lowest 54-hole score in program annals. He finished the event tied for 14th, a career best.
Freshman Gonzalo Leal Montero posted a 74 (+3) in the final round to finish with a three-hole total of 215 (+2) to tie for 34th.
Senior Aaron DeNucci and sophomore Jake Rowe both competed as individuals, finishing tied for 63rd with a 54-hole total of 224 (+11).
Iowa led the field in eagles (2), birdies (72), and par four scoring average (3.96; -6). The Hawkeyes finished second in par three scoring average (2.99; -1) and third in par five scoring average (4.47; -32).
|T-34.||Gonzalo Leal Montero||71||70||74||+2||215|
COACH TYLER STITH’S COMMENTS
“I am excited for our guys. I am so proud of the way we clutched up on the back nine, making so many birdies. The course got harder and windier today and our guys stepped up and closed the tournament out. I am really proud of them. It was a total team performance. All five guys chipped in and we had a lot of low scores. To have two individual medalists and the team championship is special. I am happy for Matthew and Alex because being able to sweep all the first-place trophies this week is pretty cool. We had four guys with personal bests this week and that’s how you break a school record the way that we did. We are playing with as much confidence as we have all year.”
SENIOR MATTHEW WALKER’S COMMENTS
“We had six weeks off coming into this tournament and we played really well as a team. It was nice to share medalist honors with Alex. It is incredible to have that (school) record. We both played really well all week. I was patient this week. There was a nice turn out of fans and being able to play in front of family and friends, it gave us an edge that we needed to get it done.”
JUNIOR ALEX SCHAAKE’S COMMENTS
“Matt and I played really well this week. I have had so many second place finishes and just needed to get the job done once to know I can win. I am extremely happy with our team and how we battled today. We finished out on the closing holes well. The course was in amazing shape, which is always helpful. I hit a lot of good shots on the back nine and stayed patient. To set the school record in front of our fans and families makes this even more special.”
The Hawkeyes will travel to Philadelphia, April 26-28, for the Big Ten Championships.