Iowa men’s golf starting season without worrying about expectations

Heading into the new season there are a lot of high expectations for Iowa golf, and they will try not to worry about them.

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Iowa men’s golf starting season without worrying about expectations

Iowa's Alex Schaake lines up a putt during a tournament at the Donald Ross Course at the Cedar Rapids Country Club in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.

Iowa's Alex Schaake lines up a putt during a tournament at the Donald Ross Course at the Cedar Rapids Country Club in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.

Joseph Cress

Iowa's Alex Schaake lines up a putt during a tournament at the Donald Ross Course at the Cedar Rapids Country Club in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.

Joseph Cress

Joseph Cress

Iowa's Alex Schaake lines up a putt during a tournament at the Donald Ross Course at the Cedar Rapids Country Club in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.

Cassandra Buchholz, Sports Reporter

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As the season heads into the fall, the Hawkeyes are heading into another golf season and starting the second half of 2019 with no expectations. 

“We try not to have any expectations. We [as a coaching staff] want to do everything we can to get the guys ready to play,” Assistant Coach Charlie Hoyle said. “As long as we do everything in our power to cover our bases in practice and a good place to compete, we have to focus on winning.”

And winning is certainly something the team has accomplished, especially off the green.

Seniors Alex Schaake and Benton Weinberg and Sophomore Gonzalo Leal Montero were named 2019 Men’s Golf Big Ten Preseason Honorees last week. Coming off of winning the Big Ten Men’s Golfer of the Year for 2018-2019, Schaake also received preseason third-team all-American from Golfweek. 

Weinberg noted that the honors are nice, but they’re not good enough. 

“It’s nice, but it’s just the preseason,” he said. “You still have to work hard during the year, and it’s definitely more important to earn them after the season than before.”

Preseason accolades can be intimidating to some athletes, as they add to their list of expectations. Schaake, however, isn’t worried about those expectations. He is just worried about playing golf.

“I don’t think there is any added pressure,” Schaake said. “It’s golf. You just have to play your game, and if you have a bad week, you just have to come back here to work, work on your game, and have a bounce-back week. They’re motivation to do better. I didn’t really take the third-team All-American preseason ranking all too well, because I think I feel like I’m ranked higher than that.”

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After placing 7th in the NCAA Regionals in the Spring, the Hawkeyes are ready for the Fall and play in their first tournament, Sept. 8-9, at the Gopher Invitational in Minneapolis. Iowa placed third out of 15 teams at the Invite last year.

“It’s been on our schedule every year I’ve been here,” said Weinberg. “We know the course very well and it’s one of the best courses we play on. We’re excited.”

Everyone associates golf as a spring game, but the Hawkeyes know that each match and tournament in the Fall is crucial and a determiner for what the Spring will look like.

“All the bigger tournaments [Big Ten and NCAA championships] are in the Spring, but the fall is really important too,” Weinberg said. “It’s part of the regular season, and it’s equally weighted, just like the regular season in spring, so it’s important to get off to a good start.”

Nobody knows the importance of getting off to a good start like a team’s head coach. Iowa head coach Tyler Stith wants to attack every tournament the team plays in, and start the season off right. 

“All the tournaments we play have equal importance,” Stith said. “But it does make a big difference to get off to a good start. It sets a tone for the rest of the season, I know the guys are really looking forward to this event.”

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