Iowa men’s golf ready to face seven top-25 teams at second annual Calusa Cup

The Hawkeyes will host the tournament’s competitive field in Naples, Florida, April 3-5.

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Hannah Kinson

Iowa’s Mac McClear drives the ball during the men’s golf Hawkeye Invitational on Saturday, April 17, 2021 at Finkbine Golf Course.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter


The Iowa men’s golf team will host the second annual Calusa Cup at Calusa Pines Golf Club in Naples, Florida, on April 3-5. 

Calusa Pines will pose one of the toughest tests of the spring schedule, forcing players to be mindful of their approach and short-game shots, Iowa men’s golf assistant coach Charlie Hoyle said. With the hilly terrain and firm and fast course conditions, Hoyle said, missing a target by just a few feet could have drastic consequences.  

“At Calusa, you always have to expect fast greens,” Hoyle said. “Your short game’s gotta be on point. Your pace control on the greens has gotta be on point. And really just understanding that there are going to be situations that you’re going to be in out there that you’ve got to be defensive, even when you’re greenside, you know, just giving yourself a putt for par. You know, maybe a putt for bogey is the best play.

“Obviously, there are holes you can attack down there,” Hoyle added. “There are plenty of birdie holes. But knowing that if you do get out of position around the greens, especially, you’ve got to be sensible, and take your medicine.”

Iowa junior Mac McClear finished in a tie for 26th in last year’s Calusa Cup — the highest of any returning Hawkeye. McClear said he’s excited to return for a second consecutive season.

“I’m looking forward to a challenge,” McClear told The Daily Iowan Wednesday. “I heard it’s playing firm and fast like it was last year, so I’m excited about that. I always like a good challenge. And, you know, hopefully, it brings out the best in me, which it usually does.”

Iowa junior Ronan Kleu, who is coming off of his best finish of the spring season at the Schenkel Invitational on March 18-20, said playing against the best players in the country will be a good opportunity for him and the Hawkeyes.

The nine-team field will feature seven top-25 squads.

“The competition, the teams that are going to be down there is something to look forward to,” Kleu said. “To go head to head against the best there.”

Iowa will host No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 8 Georgia, No. 11 Georgia Tech, No. 16 Florida, No. 17 Wake Forest, No. 22 Clemson, No. 23 Purdue, and Marquette in a field that features 17 of the nation’s top 100 golfers. 

Florida’s No. 3 Fred Biondi, Oklahoma’s No. 4 Chris Gotterup, and Georgia’s No. 12 Trent Phillips will all compete at Calusa Pines. 

McClear and Kleu will lead the Iowa lineup this week. Senior Gonzalo Leal Montero, freshman Ian Myer, and sophomore Callum Macfie will also play.

“I think you play and practice to try to be the best out there,” McClear said. “The only way you can tell that is to play against the best players, best teams. So, you know, we haven’t had a great year, but it’s an opportunity for us to step up and have a really good week and really move up the rankings, just because of how good the field is.”

Hoyle said a mindset on controlling the controllables is an important factor to the Hawkeyes’ success this week.

“I think if we focus on our processes and take care of things we can take care of, you know, ultimately we can’t really control what other teams do,” Hoyle said. “But I think if we get off to a good start, play a solid first round, and then just continue to play good solid golf, we’ll be in a good spot.”

Sunday’s first round begins at 11:30 a.m. and all three rounds can be tracked live at golfstat.com

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