The University of Iowa men’s golf team begins the 2019 season at the Gopher Invitational, Sept. 8-9, in Independence, Minnesota. Rounds one and two will be played on Sunday with the final round on Monday.
FOLLOW THE ACTION
Fans can follow this weekend’s action by visiting golfstat.com for live scoring. Links can be found on the men’s golf schedule page on hawkeyesports.com
LINK UP WITH THE HAWKEYES
For an inside look at the Iowa men’s golf program and to access exclusive coverage, “like” Hawkeye men’s golf on Facebook and follow @IowaHawkeyeGolf on Twitter and Instagram.
Iowa is joined by a field of 12 other teams that include: Arkansas, No. 20 Baylor, Kent State, Marquette, North Carolina State, No. 7 Oklahoma, Purdue, No. 14 Texas A&M, Utah, and West Virginia (NCAA Rankings). Oklahoma won last year’s tournament at five-under-par (847).
Iowa’s opening lineup features senior Alex Schaake, sophomore Gonzalo Leal Montero, junior Joe Kim, freshman Garrett Tighe, and senior Benton Weinberg. Tighe will be making his Hawkeye debut.
Designed by John Fought, the tournament will be played at Windsong Farm Country Club. Located west of Minneapolis in Independence, Minnesota, the par-71 course stretches 7,368 yards.
HEAR FROM HEAD COACH TYLER STITH
“I know the guys are looking forward to the (Gopher Invitational). We’ve had a good week of practice. We’ve done a good job at getting ready and it helps to go back to a place we’ve played before. I’m excited to get going this week.”
HISTORICALLY AT THE GOPHER INVITATIONAL
This year marks Iowa’s ninth appearance in the Gopher Invitational in the last 11 seasons. The Hawkeyes finished third in last year’s 15-team Gopher Invitational with a three-round total of 851 (-1) — the fifth best score in Gopher Invitational history. The Hawkeyes final-round 277 (-7) tied the fourth-best 18-hole round in tournament history and second best since it moved to Windsong Farm Golf Club in 2013. Three Hawkeye golfers — Alex Schaake (T6; -2), Gonzalo Leal Montero (T18; +3), and Benton Weinberg (T23; +4) — finished inside the top 23 a year ago.
3 HAWKEYES EARN B1G PRESEASON HONORS
Seniors Alex Schaake and Benton Weinberg, and sophomore Gonzalo Leal Montero were named 2019 Men’s Golf Big Ten Preseason Honorees.
- Schaake is the reigning Big Ten Men’s Golf Player of the Year and Les Bolstad Award winner, which is presented to the player with the lowest stroke average. He was also named to the Division I PING All-Midwest Region Team and the All-Big Ten First Team as a unanimous selection a junior. Schaake finished last season as the 43rd-ranked golfer in the country by Golfweek/Sagarin.
- Weinberg, a Division I PING All-Midwest Region and All-Big Ten Second Team selection as a junior, competed in all 11 events last season, posting a 71.79 18-hole scoring average with 11 rounds at or below par. The Potomac, Maryland, native posted career bests at the Hawkeye Invitational finishing sixth with a 54-hole score of 204 (-9).
- Leal Montero competed in every event during his freshman season, posting 10 rounds at or below par with four top-20 finishes and one top-10 finish. His best career finish came at the rain-shortened GolfWeek Challenge with a two-round score of 140 (-4) to tie for fifth. The Seville, Spain, native tied for 11th at the Big Ten Championships — Iowa’s best individual finish — with a three-round total of 220 (+10).
SCHAAKE NAMED PRESEASON THIRD-TEAM ALL-AMERICAN
Schaake was named a preseason third-team All-American by Golfweek. He was the only Big Ten golfer on any of the three preseason teams. In his junior campaign, Schaake competed in all 11 events, leading the Hawkeyes in stroke average (71), rounds at or below par (17), top-10 finishes (5), top-20 finishes (6), and low 18-hole round (63).
SCHAAKE’S HOT SUMMER
- Senior Alex Schaake entered his name into the Nebraska Amateur record books this summer, winning his fourth consecutive 72-hole Nebraska Amateur Championship at eight-under-par (280). The Omaha, Nebraska, native won a seven-hole playoff after starting the final round five strokes behind the leader. Schaake became the second individual in 111 years to win the tournament four straight years.
- At the 86th Iowa Open, Schaake registered a 10-under-par 206 in the 54-hole tournament to be the low amateur.
Three freshman — Matthew Garside, Mac McClear, and Garrett Tighe — joined the Hawkeyes this season.
- Garside is a Bettendorf, Iowa, native and earned medalist honors at the 2018 Class 4A Iowa State Championship with a 65 (-6), which is the lowest 18-hole score at the state tournament since 2011. He also recorded the second lowest 18-hole average in Iowa Class 4A with 71.25 strokes-per-round. This summer, Garside was the runner-up low amateur in the Iowa Open at four-under-par (212) behind Schaake.
- McClear comes from Hinsdale Central high school in Hinsdale, Illinois. As a prep, he won three high school state team championships and finished fifth at state as an individual the past two years. He was the fifth ranked golfer in Illinois in the 2019 class.
- From Algonquin, Illinois, Tighe was the second ranked golfer in Illinois and 96th nationally in the 2019 class. In high school, he was a two-time Northwest All-Area First Team, All-Region, and All-Conference selection, while also placing fifth at the Illinois 3A State Championship in 2018.
A PROGRAM ON THE RISE
Iowa has four team titles and four individual medalists since Coach Stith’s first year in 2014. Last season, Iowa claimed the Hawkeye Invitational with co-medalists Alex Schaake and Matthew Walker. The Hawkeyes have qualified for the NCAA Tournament 10 of the last 11 years.
STITH SIGNS CONTRACT EXTENSION
Coach Stith signed a five-year contract extension this summer to keep him in Iowa City through 2024. He has led the Hawkeyes to top-four finishes at the Big Ten Championships four times and advanced to four NCAA Regionals in five seasons.
Iowa hosts the GolfWeek Conference Challenge, Sept. 15-17, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.