Iowa golf programs hit the road for final fall events

The Hawkeye men’s team will travel to North Carolina as the Iowa women’s squad flies to the Bahamas.


Gabby Drees

Paula Miranda practices her putt at Finkbine Golf Course on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

Both the Iowa men’s and women’s golf teams will play their last events of the fall season this weekend. The Hawkeye men will head to North Carolina for the Williams Cup. And the Iowa women travel to the Bahamas to compete in the White Sands Bahamas Invitational.

The White Sands Bahamas Invitational begins Friday morning, and the Williams Cup kicks off on Monday.

In the Bahamas, the Hawkeyes will compete in a seven-team field at the Ocean Club Golf Course that includes Campbell, Florida International, Mercer, Miami, Nebraska, and Northern Illinois.

Hawkeye head coach Megan Menzel said her team is pumped to get to warmer weather this weekend. Though it will have to make some adjustments to play well in conditions that are not traditionally seen in the U.S.

She said the team is excited for their first visit to the Bahamas.

“They’re all just, you know, pumped about the golf course to have the ocean right by you and definitely a little bit different golf with the winds and the grass,” Menzel said. “We’ll have a little bit of adjustments to make, for sure, when we get down there. I think, you know, you’re in a scenery like that and you know you’re pretty inspired to play some good golf.”

Freshman Paula Miranda said she’s excited to play in the Bahamas because it’s a similar setting to Mexico — her home country.

The Hawkeyes’ lineup will consist of Miranda, sophomore Klara Wildhaber, junior Lily Gentzkow, and seniors Dana Lerner and Manuela Lizarazu.

The men’s team will compete at Eagle Point Golf Club this weekend alongside Georgia, Houston, Indiana, Louisville, Michigan State, North Carolina State, North Carolina-Wilmington, Vanderbilt, and North Carolina. The Tar Heels are this week’s tournament hosts.

“It looks great,” men’s golf head coach Tyler Stith said of Eagle Point Golf Club. “They did have a PGA Tour event there. The Wells Fargo [Championship] was there in 2017. I think the winning score was not that good for a PGA Tour event. It was like 8-under-par. So, that tells me that, if they want, they can set up the golf course pretty hard. I doubt they’ll do that this week, but I don’t know what kind of challenge it’s going to be.”

Freshman Ian Meyer, juniors Mac McClear, Ronan Kleu and Garrett Tighe, and senior Gonzalo Leal-Montero will represent the Hawkeyes in North Carolina this week.

Both teams have counted some impressive individual scores this year. Neither the Hawkeye men, nor women, however, have recorded a team finish higher than ninth this fall.

RELATED: Iowa women’s golf finishes ninth at Ron Moore Intercollegiate

For the men’s team, Kleu has registered top-10 finishes in both events he’s played this fall. He hasn’t carded a single over-par round this season.

Kleu’s teammate and reigning Big Ten champion Mac McClear is finding his stride again after a less-than-ideal start to the season.

Following back-to-back finishes outside the top 40, McClear rebounded with a tied-for-eighth showing at the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Classic earlier this month.

On the women’s side, Miranda has been the Hawkeyes’ best player through three tournaments.

Miranda has grabbed ties for 32nd, 20th, and second as an individual.

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