IOWA CITY, Iowa — The 43rd-ranked University of Iowa men’s golf team established a new 18-hole school record with a first round score of 262 (-22), en route to finishing day one of the Hawkeye Invitational in first place with a 36-hole score of 539 (-29) at the par-71 Finkbine Golf Course. Iowa’s 262 bested its previous benchmark by six strokes set in 2010.
Iowa leads 30th-ranked Illinois (542, -26) by three strokes, UMKC by 20 strokes (559, -9), and 31st-ranked Kansas by 21 strokes (560, -8) heading into Sunday’s final round.
Four Hawkeyes posted career low 18-hole scores, most notably junior Alex Schaake’s 63 in the first round. Schaake’s bogey-free 63, which included eight birdies, set a new tournament 18-hole record. The 63 is the second lowest score in program history, one stroke behind Chad McCarty’s 62 at the Johnny Owens Invitational on April 3, 1997. Schaake sits in fifth place with a 36-hole total of 135 (-7).
Senior Matthew Walker carded a 67 (-4) in the first round — tying the fifth lowest 18-hole mark in program history. He fired six birdies in round one, including four straight on holes six through nine. In the afternoon, Walker shot his ninth round at or below par, tying a career-best 66 (-5) with six more birdies, bringing his tournament-leading birdie total to 12. The senior moved up five spots on the individual leaderboard to finish the day in second place with a two-round total of 133 (-9).
Junior Benton Weinberg tied the third lowest 18-hole score in school history with his first-round career-best score of 64 (-7). The junior was bogey-free in the first round, sinking five birdies and an eagle. Weinberg stayed below par in the second round, recording a 70 (-1) for his ninth round at or below par this season. He finished the day tied for third place with a 36-hole total of 134 (-8).
Joe Kim posted a personal-best three-under-par 68 in the first round and an even-par 71 in round two. The sophomore heads into the final round tied for 16th with a two-round score of 139 (-3).
Freshman Gonzalo Leal Montero opened play with an even-par 71 in the first round. He fired a one-under-par 70 to give him a 36-hole total of 141 (-1). He is tied for 25th going into the final day.
The Hawkeyes lead the 13-team field in par-four scoring average (3.92; -7), par-five scoring average (4.36; -25), and birdies (48).
Senior Aaron DeNucci is competing as an individual and finished day one with a score of 148 (+6), tied for 59th. Sophomore Jake Rowe is tied for 68th with a two-round total of 148 (+6).
|T-25.||Gonzalo Leal Montero||71||70||-1||141|
COACH STITH’S COMMENTS
“The weather was perfect today, but the guys were ready to play. We had a couple really good weeks of practice to peak for this week. We had three personal best rounds this morning. It was a great way to start the tournament. We know it’s a 54-hole tournament and you can’t win it on the first day. We need to do the same thing tomorrow that we did today, come out and play our own game and be patient.”
JUNIOR ALEX SCHAAKE’S COMMENTS
“I was going through my first round and had no idea what I was at. When I was adding up my score on 17, I was like, ‘wow, that’s low.’ It feels great to know that my ball-striking is there, it’s all there. It felt really good. It was a great round.”
SENIOR MATTHEW WALKER’S COMMENTS
“Having six weeks off, we were able to play and practice a lot. We were all ready to go. We all got off to good starts and once you do that around here you have birdie opportunities on the back nine that we capitalized on.”
The final round of the Hawkeye Invitational tees off Sunday at 8:30 a.m. (CT) with a shotgun start. Admission is free to the public.