Iowa men’s golf heads to Notre Dame Fighting Irish Classic

After two weeks away from competition, the Hawkeyes will travel to South Bend, Indiana, for a two-day event.


Joseph Cress

Iowa head coach Tyler Stith grabs a flag out of the 18th hole during a tournament at the Donald Ross Course at the Cedar Rapids Country Club in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

Iowa men’s golf is back in action this week, as the Hawkeyes travel to South Bend, Indiana, to compete at the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Classic.

Of the 14-team field, the Hawkeyes will join Michigan State and Rutgers as Big Ten representatives at the Warren Golf Course. Two 18-hole rounds will be played Monday and the final round is Tuesday.

The Hawkeyes started out slow this fall, with a ninth-place showing at the Marquette Invitational Sept. 5-7 and a 13th-place finish at the Gopher Invitational Sept. 12-13.

The Hawkeyes, however, played in the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Classic in both the 2018 and 2019 fall seasons. And Iowa found success, tallying a fourth-place finish in 2018 and coming in third in 2019.

Men’s golf head coach Tyler Stith said his team’s previous experience at Warren Golf Course will help this week. Stith also said the challenge is not the length of the course, but precision, on the approximate 7,000-yard layout.

“We’ve played in this event a few times,” Stith said. “It’s not crazy long, but the greens are small and well-bunkered. Approach shots will be a key to success for us.”

Iowa is coming off a two-week break from competition after its lackluster finishes to begin the season. The Hawkeyes have used the time off to improve both on and off the course.

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“We’ve struggled this fall to get everyone healthy and in form,” Stith said. “After a couple of weeks of practice and recovery, we are trending in the right direction and looking forward to the opportunity.”

Stith added that the Hawkeyes stressed the short game in the two weeks of practice, but he’s not expecting a night-and-day difference after the break.

“I’ve been happy with the team’s effort the last couple of weeks,” Stith said. “We have put an emphasis on short game of late, but you don’t always see instant results. You have to believe in the process and put in the time.”

Stith will send out junior transfer Ronan Kleu in the No. 1 spot at the Fighting Irish Classic Monday. Joining Kleu will be junior Mac McClear, freshman Ian Meyer, and seniors Jake Rowe and Gonzalo Leal Montero in the playing field. Sophomore Felipe Pedraza will compete as an individual.

Kleu, a transfer from Division II Columbus State in Columbus, Georgia, paced the Hawkeyes at the Marquette Invitational, tying for sixth with Leal Montero with an 8-under-par 208.

Meyer led the Hawkeyes in the Badger Invitational, finishing 35th with an 8-over-par 219.

McClear has played up-and-down golf so far this fall after capturing two individual titles last spring, including the Big Ten Championship. Stith said McClear is trying to get back on track after his performance last spring.

“Mac is learning to manage higher expectations after last season,” Stith said.  “He understands that form comes and goes. Nobody plays well every week. You know, you’ve got to be patient and stick with your process.”

Live scoring of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Classic will be provided at

Following the Fighting Irish Classic, the Hawkeyes will have another gap in their schedule before teeing it up at the Williams Cup in Wilmington, North Carolina, on Oct. 24-25.

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