Schaake brothers ready to tee it up at Pinnacle Bank Championship

Both Alex and Carson Schaake will test their games against some of the nation’s best at this week’s tournament.


The Daily Iowan; Photos by Ben A

Iowa sophomore Alex Schaake poses for a portrait at Hoak Family Golf Complex on Tuesday, April 24, 2018.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

After making his first start on the Korn Ferry Tour, then the tour — one tour below the PGA — in 2018 at the Pinnacle Bank Championship, Iowa redshirt senior Alex Schaake will compete in the same event for a second time this week.

Carson Schaake, who graduated from Iowa in 2017, will make his first start on the Korn Ferry Tour this week as he competes alongside his younger brother. However, Carson did receive a sponsor’s exemption into the 2015 John Deere Classic, a PGA Tour event.

Two years ago, the younger Schaake brother qualified for the PBC by finishing fourth in the Monday qualifying tournament at a course in Council Bluffs, Iowa. This time, he earned a spot in the field because of his 1-shot victory at the Indian Creek Invitational at The Club at Indian Creek in Omaha, Nebraska, the same course that this week’s Korn Ferry Tour Event will be held on.

“[Qualifying on the same course as the event] definitely is an advantage,” Alex Schaake said. “Just to go out there and play and have the mindset of being in competition just gives me an idea of where my game was at heading into the tournament. What I needed to get better at, where I need to improve based on competition play. To play in that tournament, to have a competitive feel for 36 holes is huge and gives me a little bit of confidence winning the qualifier heading into the Pinnacle Bank.”

The course is only minutes from the Schaake household, giving both Alex and Carson a leg up on many of the other players in the field who typically travel from course to course while playing on the tour. Both brothers have played the tournament course four times since Alex qualified for the event back in early July.

Goals during a tournament, whether that be a certain score per nine on 18 holes, a certain goal for a part of a player’s game, or a desired finish in the tournament can be different for different players. The younger Schaake brother has set goals for himself but says they can change as the tournament progresses.

RELATED: Sibling rivalry a motivating factor on the golf course for Iowa’s Alex Schaake

“What I’ve learned through college golf is that you can make goals but goals change,” Alex Schaake said. “This week, my first goal is to make the cut, play a solid to rounds in easily make the cut. I’m sure my goal is to top-25 after that. Then, if that’s in range, I will reconsider goals.  I think my main goal is just to finish top-25 and compete with the better players on that tour just to show that I can play with them and build my confidence that way.”

Some of the best players on the Korn Ferry Tour are graduates of Big Ten schools and the Schaakes are excited to compete with them again.

Northwestern grad Dylan Wu, who is the ranked as the 258th best player on the planet and seventh on the Korn Ferry Tour money list, will likely earn his PGA Tour card next year. He will be staying with the Schaakes this week.

Illinois’ Nick Hardy, who was named Big Ten Men’s Golfer of the Year in 2018, one season prior to Alex Schaake receiving the honor, will also be in the field along with former Ohio State star Will Grimmer.

Although Alex Schaake may be feeling some nerves before the tournament begins this Thursday, he has reason to be confident he can reach his goal of finishing in the top-25 this week.

“I feel like I’m rolling it better than I’ve ever putted in my life,” Alex Schaake said. “Honestly, I feel like I’m playing better than I’ve ever played in my life, which is a good sign. The funny thing is when you get the putter rolling so well, it takes the stress off the rest of your game because if you do miss the green you don’t get too upset because you feel like you’re going to make everything inside of 10 feet. Even if you do hit a decent chip shot, you know, within seven or eight feet, I feel like I’m going to make that.”

The first round of the tournament will take place July 30 and run through August 2. Alex and Carson are playing in the same group and are set to tee off at 9:02 a.m. on the opening day of the tournament.

You can follow the tournament’s leaderboard live here.

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