Iowa men’s golf finishes ninth at Marquette Intercollegiate

The Hawkeyes finished the tournament at 8-under-par as a team.


Hannah Kinson

Gonzalo Leal putts during a golf invitational at Finkbine Golf Course on Saturday, April 20, 2019. Iowa came in first with a score of 593 against 12 other teams.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

Through the first nine holes of the Marquette Intercollegiate at Erin Hills Golf Course in Hartford, Wisconsin, the Iowa men’s golf team sat atop the leaderboard at 7-under-par.

The Hawkeyes made just one bogey as a team in the first nine holes of the Marquette Intercollegiate, and all five Hawkeyes posted under-par scores during that stretch.

After their hot start, however, the Hawkeyes cooled off quickly. Iowa faded from first place to a tie for sixth place by the time round one action ended Sunday. The Hawkeyes’ four top finishers shot a combined four-over-par on the back nine at Erin Hills in round one.

“We started great this morning,” Hawkeye head coach Tyler Stith said via release Sunday. “We only made one bogey as a team the first nine holes. We made the turn and struggled on holes two through four that were back into the wind.”

Junior Ronan Kleu was the Hawkeyes’ top finisher Sunday, shooting 5-under-par. The Columbus State transfer’s round one scorecard featured five birdies and no bogeys.

“We’re very happy for Ronan [Kleu],” Stith said. “That is a great performance in his debut. He made a few big saves early in his round to calm the nerves. Once he settled into his round, he looked very comfortable and played great.”

Senior Gonzalo Leal Montero also finished round one under par, carding a 3-under-par 69.

In round two, the Hawkeyes improved by eight strokes thanks to Leal Montero’s spotless scorecard. The Spaniard made seven birdies and did not record a single bogey in round two. Leal Montero’s 65 is the fourth-best round any UI golfer has ever posted.

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After day two of the tournament, Leal Montero found himself just one shot back of the lead.

“A very impressive round today from Gonzalo,” Stith said in a Monday release. “He’s playing with a lot of confidence and commitment. The scores were really good today. There wasn’t much wind, so the course was getable. We did a much better job on the par fives and played better on the front nine.”

During the third and final round of the Marquette Invitational Monday, both the weather and the Hawkeyes’ play deteriorated.

While Kleu and freshman Ian Meyer both finished the final round at 1-under-par, the other three competing Hawkeyes netted scores of 2-over-par or worse.

By the tournament’s end both Kleu and Leal Montero sat at 8-under-par, tied for sixth place.

“We started poorly this morning,” Stith said in a Tuesday release. “The rain delay came at a good time because we needed to reset. We played much better after the weather delay and got hot on the back nine. I’m proud of how we fought back today. This group has potential, and they are willing to work at it.”

The Hawkeyes will hit the links again Sept. 12 and 13 at the University of Minnesota-hosted Gopher Invitational in Independence, Minnesota. The tournament will be held at Windsong Farm Golf Club — a 7,586-yard par-72 golf course designed by John Fought and 1996 Open Champion Tom Lehman.