Iowa men’s golf team confident ahead of Big Ten Championships

The Hawkeyes are in French Lick, Indiana, this weekend to take on the rest of the conference at the Pete Dye Golf Course.


Daniel McGregor-Huyer

Iowa Golfer Mac McClears swings his golf club during the Hawkeye invitational at Finkbine Golf Course on April 16, 2022.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

The Iowa men’s golf team has experience heading into the Big Ten Championships. Three of the Hawkeyes’ five players in the lineup competed in the 2021 Big Ten Championships, when Iowa was runner-up to Illinois by one stroke.

Junior Mac McClear, who is the reigning Big Ten individual medalist, will head the Hawkeye lineup at the Pete Dye Golf Course in French Lick, Indiana, from Friday to Sunday.

Sophomore Callum Macfie, juniors Ronan Kleu and Garrett Tighe, and senior Gonzalo Leal Montero will join McClear in the lineup this weekend. Tighe finished in a tie for 10th at the 2021 conference tournament and Leal Montero tied for 24th.

“This is probably the most confident me and all of us who have been heading into a tournament,” McClear told The Daily Iowan. “We’ve had our struggles, but it was nice to get back into contention at the Hawkeye. Didn’t win, that’s what we wanted to do, but second place was a lot better than we have been doing.”

The Hawkeyes aren’t confident just because of their play at the 2021 Big Ten Championships. Iowa is coming into this year’s tournament after producing its best team result at the Hawkeye Invitational two weeks ago.

Iowa was the runner-up at its home tournament after firing a combined 10-under-par 854 at Finkbine Golf Course, falling by just two strokes to No. 28 Kansas.

Individually, Tighe tallied his best collegiate finish with a runner-up showing, McClear ended the event in fifth place, and Leal Montero tied for sixth. Kleu snuck into the top 25 with a tie for 22nd.

“I think the problem this season, we’ve all had good tournaments, but it’s just been at opposite times,” McClear said. “We haven’t had a tournament yet where we all played well. So, I think if we all play well at the same time, there’s no doubt that we can win this tournament. It’s just about putting the pieces together at the right time for us.”

Head coach Tyler Stith echoed McClear’s claim that Iowa could be near the top of the leaderboard on Sunday. The eight-year head coach said that while the conference is full of talented teams, there is no clear No. 1 school this season.

“The Big Ten is extremely strong this year,” Stith said. “There are five teams ranked inside the top 50 in the country, which, for a northern conference, I mean, is pretty strong. But I also think that it’s fairly open in a sense that there’s no one clear dominant team, like there has been in the past.”

Illinois has won 11 of the past 12 Big Ten Men’s Golf Championships, and seven straight. The Illini are No. 20 in Golfstat’s rankings, the highest of any Big Ten team. No. 29 Purdue, No. 35 Ohio State, No. 37 Michigan State, and No. 47 Northwestern round out the Big Ten teams in Golfstat’s top-50.

“Illinois is still the team to beat until someone proves otherwise,” Stith said. “But I feel like it’s as open a championship as there’s ever been, and this golf course presents a lot of challenges.”

The tournament will begin at 7 a.m. Friday. Live scoring is available at

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