IOWA CITY, Iowa — The No. 43 University of Iowa men’s golf team went wire-to-wire to win its second tournament of 2021, capturing the Hawkeye Invitational by five strokes over Kansas on Sunday at the par-72 Finkbine Golf Course. Iowa won its second consecutive Hawkeye Invitational and its 16th overall in the 27-year history of the event.
Iowa carded a 6-under par 282 on Sunday and finished with a 54-hole score of 840, which ties the sixth lowest team 54-hole score in program history and equals the second lowest score in tournament annals (2012).
Iowa’s Alex Schaake and Mac McClear finished as the tournament medalist and runner-up. Schaake won the tournament for the second straight time after sharing the 2019 tournament title with teammate Matthew Walker. The Omaha, Nebraska, native led start to finish with a 12-under par 204, which is the lowest score by a Hawkeye this spring. Schaake posted a final round 2-under par on Sunday, sinking four birdies, including a 50-footer on the par-4 14th hole.
“Winning this was one of our team goals, and my goal was to defend the title,” said Schaake. “And if I could do that, I knew it would help us as a team, so that feels really good.
“Our goal was to win this tournament. Overall, I feel like we all played pretty well. It was kind of a tune up for the next few tournaments. Hopefully we can learn from this, learn from our mistakes, and realize that we can still compete when we don’t play great.”
McClear fired a 5-under 67 on Sunday, tying for the lowest score of the day among the 66 competitors. The sophomore recorded six birdies and bogeyed only one hole.
“My game felt good coming into this tournament,” McClear said. “I feel like we had a good approach and had good preparation all week. I feel like everyone on our team was locked in and I believe that led to our good play.
“It’s funny, when I won the tournament at Sea Island, Alex finished second. So he got a little revenge by finishing first today. But I have played well all season, so it is definitely good to get another tournament under my belt. Hopefully I can keep playing like this and carry this momentum into the final tournaments of the season.”
Gonzalo Leal Montero finished two shots back of McClear at 8-under par after his 3-under par 69. Leal Montero birdied a team-best seven holes on Sunday, including a stretch of three straight on holes 10-12.
HEAD COACH TYLER STITH
“I’m happy to get the win. We made it a lot more interesting than it needed to be coming down the stretch, but I am proud of the way the guys started the tournament. We got off to a great start, which set us up to be in position to have a chance to win today. We started the day well, then struggled a little bit in the middle stretch, but towards the end we got the job done.
“Playing on our home course and getting some confidence is good for us. We’re going to the Kepler next week, which is very similar to this golf course. Hopefully this week was a good test for that and we use that momentum for the remainder of the season.”
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- Iowa has won multiple tournaments in the same season for the first time since 2014. The Hawkeyes placed first at the Spartan Collegiate at Sea Island last month.
- Iowa led the tournament field with 66 total birdies, 12 more than second place Kansas.
- Alex Schaake led all 66 competitors with 20 birdies in the tournament, followed by Gonzalo Leal Montero with 19.
- Iowa led all 12 teams in par 4 scoring average (3.96) and tied with Creighton in par-5 scoring average (4.6).
- Sophomore Garrett Tighe, who competed unattached, tied for 19th place. Seniors Charles Jahn (+6, 222) and Jake Rowe (+10, 226) finished tied for 33rd and 46th, respectively.
Iowa returns to action next week at the Robert Kepler Intercollegiate in Columbus, Ohio, April 24-25.