RIVERSIDE, Iowa — Past and present University of Iowa men’s golfers dominated the leaderboard at the 86th Iowa Open this past weekend at the par-72 Blue Top Ridge Golf Course in Riverside, Iowa.
Matthew Walker, competing in his third professional event since graduating from Iowa in May, was champion after carding a 13-under-par 203 in the 54-hole tournament and ultimately winning in a playoff. Walker is the eighth Hawkeye to win the event and first Ottumwa product since Bob Moreland won the championship in 1981.
Senior Alex Schaake registered a 10-under-par 206 to be the low amateur, while incoming freshman Matthew Garside shot a 4-under-par 212 as the low amateur runner-up.
With two holes left on Sunday, Walker held a three-stroke lead over Gavin Hall (Palm Beach Gardens, Florida), who made birdie on the 17th hole and holed out from 122 yards on the par-4 18th hole to force a playoff.
In the playoff, Hall hit first into a fairway bunker. Walker put his drive down the middle of the fairway and applied pressure to Hall’s 2nd shot. Hall had an awkward stance in the bunker and could only advance the ball 100 yards. Walker threw a dart to the backside of the green. Hall pitched his third shot to 15-feet. Hall two putted from there to make a bogey 5. Walker etched his name into the history books with a two-putt par from 10 feet.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet”, Walker said. “It was a lot more nerve wracking than I wanted but I didn’t know what to expect going into my third professional start. It’s really good to get the win.”