The University of Iowa men’s golf team competes in its first spring event of the season at the 12th annual Big Ten Match play Championship, Friday and Saturday, in Palm Coast, Fla, at the Hammock Beach Resort.
Friday, Feb. 7 — Two matches, the first beginning at 7 a.m. (CT) and the second beginning at 12:00 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 8 — Two matches, the first beginning at 7 a.m. (CT) and the second beginning at 12:00 p.m.
FIRST ROUND MATCHUP
The eighth-seeded Hawkeyes will face ninth-seeded Michigan in the first round on Friday. The winner of this match will move on to the quarterfinals against No. 1 Northwestern.
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 access to exclusive coverage, “like” Hawkeye men’s golf on Facebook and follow @IowaHawkeyeGolf on Twitter and Instagram.
— Iowa Hawkeye Golf (@IowaHawkeyeGolf) February 5, 2020
The Big Ten Match Play is set up in a single-elimination tournament bracket. Teams can have an eight-player tournament roster with six players competing in each match. An individual match win is worth one point. Matches ending in a 3-3 tie have a tie breaking criteria.
Senior Alex Schaake will lead the Hawkeyes in the No. 1 spot, followed by sophomore Gonzalo Leal Montero, senior Benton Weinberg, freshman Mac McClear, freshman Matthew Garside, and junior Jake Rowe.
The 13-team field includes each of the Big Ten schools except Illinois. Four Big Ten teams are featured in the top-60 (Golfstat rankings): Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, No. 53 Minnesota, Nebraska, No. 38 Northwestern, No. 56 Ohio State, Penn State, No. 51 Purdue, Rutgers, and Wisconsin.
Big Ten Match Play will be played at Hammock Beach Golf Resort’s Ocean Course (par 72; 7,113 yards).
HISTORICALLY AT THE BIG TEN MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP
- This will be Iowa’s ninth appearance in this tournament. The Hawkeyes have five top-five finishes. Iowa’s best finish came in 2012 when they finished first.
- In last year’s Big Ten Match Play, Iowa lost matches against Nebraska (4-2), Michigan (3.5-2.5), and Rutgers (4-2). Iowa finished strong with a 4.5-1.5 victory over Minnesota in the final round.
LAST TIME OUT
- Iowa placed 10th at the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate to conclude the fall season.
- Sophomore Gonzalo Leal Montero lead the Hawkeyes with three straight below-par rounds; Leal Montero posted a 54-hole total of five-under par (208). Leal Montero finished three strokes behind the tournament co-medalists.
- Seniors Alex Schaake and Benton Weinberg, and freshman Mac McClear registered even-par 71s in the third round.
- The Hawkeyes finished 35 strokes ahead of conference rival Nebraska. No. 14 SMU and the tournament host No. 12 Baylor placed first and second, respectively.
- All four of Iowa’s counted scores were at or below par in the final round. Iowa’s third round 282 (-2) was tied for the fifth lowest round of the day.
- The Hawkeyes recorded two top-four finishes in their four fall tournaments. The best finish of the season came at the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Classic where they finished third with a three-round score of 855 (+3). Senior Alex Schaake was the top performer for the Hawkeyes with a three-round score of 212 (-1).
ENTERING THE RECORD BOOKS
- Leal Montero finished the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate with a career-best 54-hole score of 208 (-5), which was the lowest Hawkeye score of the fall season and ties for the seventh-lowest 54-hole total in school history.
- McClear recorded a personal-best 67 (-4) in the second round of the Fighting Irish Classic to tie for the sixth-lowest 18-hole round in program history.
HAWKEYE TEE SHOTS
- Schaake leads the Hawkeyes with seven rounds at or below par. With three straight rounds at or below par at the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate, Leal Montero boosted his season total to six. Weinberg also has six rounds at or below par.
- Schaake leads the Hawkeyes with 71.8 strokes per round. Leal Montero owns a 71.9 18-hole stroke average.
Three freshman — Matthew Garside (Bettendorf, Iowa), Mac McClear (Hinsdale, Ill.), and Garrett Tighe (Algonquin, Ill.) — joined the Hawkeyes this season.
A PROGRAM ON THE RISE
Iowa has four team titles and four individual medalists since Coach Tyler 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 IN 2019
Coach Tyler Stith signed a five-year contract extension 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 travels to Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, to compete in the Puerto Rico Classic on Feb. 16-18.