PALM COAST, Fla. — The University of Iowa men’s golf team won their semifinal match against Michigan State (3-2) before falling in the championship to Indiana (3-2) on Saturday in the final day at Big Ten Match Play. Iowa’s runners-up finish marked the program’s best ever performance in the 13 years of the event, which is held at the Jack Nicklaus designed Hammock Beach Ocean Course.
The Hawkeyes relied on veteran leadership in the morning round as senior Jake Rowe and fifth-year seniors Alex Schaake and Benton Weinberg each notched individual victories to push Iowa over the top against the Spartans. With the win, Iowa advanced to the championship round for the first time in program history.
The championship was a tightly contested match. Each of the top three matches came down to the final hole. Junior Gonzalo Leal Montero drained a birdie on his final hole to win his match. Weinberg won his match in the fourth spot — his third win of the weekend — but the Hawkeyes came up just short of the cup in the end.
In its first competition of the season, Iowa saw five different golfers pick up victories during the event.
Semifinals: Iowa 3, Michigan State 2
Alex Schaake (Iowa) def. James Piot (MSU): 1-UP
Bradley Smithson (MSU) def. Gonzalo Leal Montero (Iowa): 3-and-2
Andrew Walker (MSU) def. Mac McClear (Iowa): 2-and-1
Benton Weinberg (Iowa) def. August Meekof (MSU) 7-and-5
Jake Rowe (Iowa) def. Pierce Morrissey (MSU): 5-and-4
Championship: Indiana 3, Iowa 2
Mitch Davis (IU) def. Alex Schaake (Iowa): 1-UP
Gonzalo Leal Montero (Iowa) def. Clay Merchant (IU): 1-UP
Harry Reynolds (IU) def. Mac McClear (IU): 2-UP
Benton Weinberg (Iowa) def. Drew Salyers (IU): 5-and-3
Ethan Shepherd (IU) def. Jake Rowe (Iowa): 3-and-2
Hear From Head Coach Tyler Stith
“It’s tough to reach the championship match and not win, but I am so thankful for the experience we had together. We gave it everything we had but just came up short at the end.”
Iowa heads to Charleston, South Carolina, on Feb. 14-16 for the Kiawah Invitational.