NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Led by sophomore Gonzalo Leal Montero’s career-best final-round 66 (-5), the University of Iowa men’s golf team fired a three-under-par 281 in the third round of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Classic to finish the tournament in third place at three-over-par (855).
Leal Montero’s 66 ties for the fifth-lowest 18-hole round in program history.
“(I am) very happy for the team,” Leal Montero said. “This proves how hard we have worked the last few weeks. We knew we didn’t play great at our first two tournaments, but we knew it was a matter of time.”
The Hawkeyes fired the second lowest 18-hole round of the day to secure their second straight top-four finish of the season. Iowa bested fourth-place and No. 3 Arizona State by eight strokes, and placed ahead of Iowa State and three Big Ten teams (Rutgers, Michigan, and Michigan State). Host and No. 17 Norte Dame (-16) and No. 10 North Carolina (-15) finished first and second, respectively.
Leal Montero one-upped freshman Mac McClear’s 67 on Monday (-4) by shooting a five-under-par 66 in today’s final round. He eagled the par-five, 495-yard 10th hole for the second straight round and added five birdies to his third round. The Seville, Spain, native was five-under-par on the back nine and tied for 23rd with a season-best 54-hole score of 214 (+1).
“Today, my ball striking felt better than yesterday,” Leal Montero said. “I hit 16 greens and have been feeling pretty good and solid with my putting. It wasn’t my best week, but (I’m) proud of how I fought back after the first round.”
“It was a great round for (him),” head coach Tyler Stith said. “Yesterday he struggled with his ball striking, but he manged to post 70. That gave him a lot of confidence heading to the final round and today he put it all together.”
Senior Alex Schaake was Iowa’s top-finisher for the third straight tournament. He tied for 13th with a season-best three-round total of 212 (-1). The Omaha, Nebraska, native fired his second even-par round of the tournament, while adding four birdies.
Freshman Mac McClear followed up his second-round 67 with a two-over-par 73 to tie for 23rd at one-over-par (214) in his first collegiate tournament. Senior Benton Weinberg continued his solid play with a third-round 71 (E) to tie for 37th with a 54-hole total of 219.
|T-23||Gonzalo Leal Montero||78||70||66||+1||214|
HEAR FROM COACH STITH
“A top-three finish is solid in this field of teams. It’s definitely a confidence boost, but there’s always room for improvement. We learned a lot this week, we’re working on the correct things, and trending in the right direction.”
- Leal Montero’s third-round 66 tied for the lowest 18-hole score of the day out of the 81-player field. He also vaulted 23 spots in the final round.
- It’s Iowa’s second straight top-four finish at the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Classic. Last season, Iowa fired a 19-under-par (833) to finish in fourth.
- The Hawkeyes were fourth in total pars (165), fourth in par four scoring (4.12), and fifth in birdies (45).
Iowa concludes its fall season, Oct. 21-22, in Dallas, Texas, at the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate. Led by Weinberg (T-10; +5) and Schaake (T-12; +6), the Hawkeyes finished eighth at last season’s tournament.