Iowa men’s golf wins 2021 Hawkeye Invitational

The Iowa men’s golf team won 2021 the Hawkeye Invitational by five strokes Sunday afternoon.


Katie Goodale

Iowa’s Alex Schaake embraces family members after winning the Hawkeye Invitational at Finkbine Golf Course on Sunday, April 18, 2021. Iowa won the invitational 24 under par.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

After hitting his second shot into the par-five 15th hole a little bit off the bottom of the clubface, Iowa senior men’s golfer Alex Schaake sarcastically quipped “thin to win” as his ball flew towards the green.

Three holes later, the Omaha, Nebraska, native tapped his final putt in to win the Hawkeye Invitational for the second-straight time.

Schaake shot his worst score of the tournament in Sunday’s third and final round — a one-under-par 71.

Despite that, Schaake still won the event by two strokes, narrowly edging out his Hawkeye teammate Mac McClear.

Rounds of seven-under-par 65 and five-under-par 67 on Saturday set the table for Schaake’s win Sunday.

The 2019 Big Ten men’s golfer of the year tallied five birdies along with four bogeys over his final 18-holes Sunday.

“I got off to a slow start,” Schaake said following Sunday’s round. “I wasn’t really feeling great with the putter. My speed all day on the greens was not good. So, it was kind of a grind out there. I just was staying patient knowing that I had a big enough lead where I could stay right at even par and be fine.”

Schaake carded three birdies in his final eight holes to finish atop the tournament’s individual field.

“My goal is coming into [the tournament] was to defend [my 2019 Hawkeye Invitational] title,” Schaake said. “If I could do that, I knew it would help the team as well so that feels really good. Just really, really happy with the week.”

Schaake began the final round with a five-shot lead over Marquette’s Hunter Eichhorn and Harry Hiller of Kansas.

Although Eichhorn and Hiller each posted under-par scores on Sunday, McClear tallied an impressive 67 on day two to climb into solo second-place.

RELATED: Schaake leads Iowa men’s golf to first-day lead at Hawkeye Invitational

McClear’s 67 was the lowest score any golfer posted on Sunday at Finkbine Golf Course in Iowa City.

“I was pretty good mentally,” McClear said Sunday. “I was making really good decisions, putting myself in the right spots, which allowed me to be aggressive on my puts. And then obviously [the decision-making] eliminates the bogeys too, which is nice.”

McClear’s solid final round coupled with Iowa junior Gonzalo Leal Montero’s tournament-closing 69 proved pivotal in the race for the 2021 Hawkeye Invitational’s team crown, as Iowa defeated Kansas by five shots.

Iowa held a six-shot lead heading into Sunday’s finale, but mid-round struggles from multiple Hawkeyes shrunk the margin to just two strokes on multiple occasions.

“Happy to get the win,” head coach Tyler Stith said after the tournament. “We made it a lot more interesting than it needed to be coming down the stretch. We started the day well, we struggled a little bit, kind of the middle stretch towards the end, but we got the job done. Really proud of the guys for picking up the win.”

The victory Sunday marked the first time since the 2013-14 season that the Hawkeyes have won multiple team titles in the same season.

The Hawkeyes claimed a one-shot victory at the Spartan Intercollegiate earlier this year.

Schaake joins McClear on the list of Hawkeyes to win an individual title this season, as McClear won the Spartan Intercollegiate in March.

“Winning in our sport doesn’t happen very often because of the size of the fields and the nature of the sport,” Stith said. “To be able to win twice in the same semester and defend [the team title], first time in my tenure here that we’ve defended a championship. Alex defended his individual title so overall it was a really good week.”