Iowa men’s golf finishes 10th at Notre Dame Fighting Irish Classic

The Hawkeyes fired an 18-over-par 858 team total to finish 10th of 14 teams.

Junior+Ronan+Kleu+lines+up+for+a+shot+during+a+Iowa+Men%E2%80%99s+Golf+Practice+at+Hoak+Family+Golf+Complex+in+Iowa+City+on+Thursday+September+16+2021.

Daniel McGregor-Huyer

Junior Ronan Kleu lines up for a shot during a Iowa Men’s Golf Practice at Hoak Family Golf Complex in Iowa City on Thursday September 16 2021.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter


Iowa men’s golf finished in 10th place as a team this week at the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Classic behind strong individual performances from juniors Mac McClear and Ronan Kleu

The Washington Huskies took the team title with a 15-under-par 269 at Warren Golf Course in South Bend, Indiana.

The Hawkeyes shot an 18-over-par total 858 over the two-day, three-round tournament, one shot behind ninth-place Colorado.

Iowa dropped three spots on the final day of the event after the Hawkeyes found themselves in seventh place through two rounds. The Hawkeyes only carded one under-par score on Tuesday — a 3-under-par 67 from Keu.

The other three counting scores of the day added up to 14-over-par. McClear, who was tied for the lead after the first two rounds, carded a 2-over-par 72 to drop into a tie for eighth place individually.

Kleu’s impressive showing on day two, which included five birdies and two bogeys, brought him from a tie for 12th into a tie for eighth place with McClear and three other golfers by tournament’s end.

BIG PICTURE

Despite three straight subpar finishes, men’s golf head coach Tyler Stith sees potential for the Hawkeyes.

The Hawkeyes started hot in round three, counting seven birdies and just four bogies as a team over the first nine holes on Tuesday. But swings faltered on the back nine, and Iowa fired a collective 14-over-par to finish the event.

“It’s disappointing to lose ground today after such a good start,” Stith said in a release following the final round. “We were minus-three at the turn, made a few bogies to start the back nine, and just allowed it [to] compound.”

MCCLEAR FINDS FORM

McClear, the reigning Big Ten Tournament individual medalist, has struggled to start the fall season.

RELATED: Hawkeye men’s golf transfer Ronan Kleu making early impact

The junior from Hinsdale, Illinois, recorded ties for 81st and 41st in the Marquette Invitational and Gopher Invitational, respectively, earlier this fall.

In the season’s first two events, McClear shot a combined 17-over-par.

This week, the McClear of last spring returned. Although he lost some ground during the final round, McClear shot his first two under-par rounds of the season at Warren Golf Course, firing 67s in rounds one and two.

During those 36 holes, the 2020 All-Big Ten first-team selection tallied eight birdies and an eagle.

“Mac [McClear] played great today,” Stith said in a release after the Monday rounds. “He hit a lot of quality golf shots and made a few good up and downs when he needed it.”

KLEU CONTINUES HOT STREAK

Kleu, a transfer from Division II Columbus State in Georgia, turned in his second straight top-ten performance.

The junior opened the season with a tie for sixth place at the Marquette Invitational. Kleu didn’t compete at the Gopher Invitational because of sickness and finished tied for eighth with McClear at the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Classic.

Kleu found himself in 12th position after two rounds and ended the event with a 3-under-par 67 which included four birdies on his front nine.

This season, Kleu’s 18-hole stroke average of 69 leads the Hawkeyes.

UP NEXT

Iowa will close out the fall season at the Williams Cup in Wilmington, North Carolina, from Oct. 24-25. The Hawkeyes will travel to Eagle Point Golf Club in the University of North Carolina-hosted event.

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