The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Men’s golf set for first tourney

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Josep
Iowa’s Matthew Walker lines up a during the Hawkeye Invitational at Finkbine Golf Course on Sunday, April 16, 2017. The Hawkeyes finished second, behind Texas Tech, in the tournament after three rounds scoring 859 (-5; 289, 285, 285). (The Daily Iowan/Joseph Cress)

The Iowa men’s golf team will open its regular season at the Gopher Invitational in Independence, Minnesota, on Sept. 10 and 11.

The tournament will start at 9 a.m. Sept. 10 with 36 holes. On Sept. 11, the rounds will start at 7:20 a.m.

“I just want us to be competitive,” head coach Tyler Stith said. “There’s a number of top teams there, and I just want us to be able to compete and beat as many top teams as we can and hopefully give ourselves an opportunity on the last day to get first or compete for the title with the top teams.”

The Hawkeyes will be one of the competitors in the 16-team field that includes five top-25 ranked teams: No. 23 Pepperdine, No. 23 Kent State, No. 21 Arizona State, No. 4 Baylor, and No. 3 Oklahoma, last year’s national champions.

Eight of the teams playing in this year’s event competed in last year’s NCAA Tournament, including the Hawkeyes.

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With only one senior on this year’s roster, there are a lot of question marks heading into this season.

“We have a really young team,” junior Matthew Walker said. “So, I don’t know. I want us to do really well, and I think we have the potential. But, our first tournament we just need to focus on playing our own game and see where that puts us in the end.”

The Hawkeyes will play at the Windsong Farm Golf Club. The 7,300-yard course will be played at par 71 and is regarded as one of the premier golf courses in the country.

After earning All-Big Ten preseason honors, sophomore Alex Schaake is ready to begin his second year with the Hawkeyes.

“No, no nerves; I’m just excited man,” Schaake said. “Hawkeye golf, it’s just awesome. I feel more confident each day.”

With so many young players, it’s given the coaching staff a lot of time to evaluate the golfers and see which lineups will work best for the 2017-18 campaign.

There are few better ways to start it off than against some of the top teams in the nation.

“I know that we’re prepared,” Stith said. “We’ve had a great couple weeks of practice. Our tops guys especially have been very consistent and been playing really well.”

The Gopher Invitational will be the first of five tournaments for the Hawkeyes, with the Golfweek Conference Invitational taking place in Cedar Rapids next weekend.

But for now, the primary focus for Iowa is this weekend and trying to get off on the right foot to start the season.

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