Two former Hawkeye men’s golfers post top-eight finishes at Iowa Open

Alex Schaake earned a tie for sixth and Matthew Walker tied for eighth.


Joseph Cress

Iowa’s Alex Schaake drives during a tournament at the Donald Ross Course at the Cedar Rapids Country Club in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.

Chris Werner, Assistant Sports Editor

Two former Hawkeye men’s golfers posted top-eight showings at this weekend’s 89th Iowa Open at Blue Top Ridge Golf Course in Riverside, Iowa, from July 29-31.

Alex Schaake — who played for Iowa from 2016-21 —  turned in a three-round score of 8-under-par to finish in a tie for sixth place.

Schaake compiled rounds of 68, 69, and 71 to come in one shot ahead of fellow Iowa grad Matthew Walker. Walker was a Hawkeye from 2015-19 and tied for eighth place following scores of 73, 67, and 69.

Walker, who won the Iowa Open three years ago, battled back from a 4-over-par front nine in his opening round to make the cut and eventually finish the event at 7-under-par.

“I shot 4-over on my first nine of the tournament and then 3-under on the second nine and just kind of kept that going,” Walker said.

After two bogeys and a double bogey on his first nine holes of the event, Walker carded 15 birdies over the remaining 45 holes and made just four bogeys during that stretch.

Walker, from Ottumwa, Iowa, finished 35th at the Greater Cedar Rapids Open last week.

“It’s nice to play at home when possible because we don’t get to do that very often,” Walker said. The Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, and Iowa Open are all good events. You get a lot of good players from around the U.S. that come and play, it’s just good competition, and it’s close to home which doesn’t hurt.”

Walker will head to Korn Ferry Tour Q-School in September.

Schaake’s sixth-place finish at Blue Top Ridge comes after a tie for 24th at the Greater Cedar Rapids Open.

Counting the final two rounds of that event, Schaake has broken par in five straight tournament rounds.

Schaake was 6-over par after his first nine holes at the Cedar Rapids Open, but has played his last 99 holes of tournament golf at 20-under-par.

Schaake said he was striking the ball well enough to win the Iowa Open, but the putts weren’t falling.

“I missed like five putts inside of five feet in the first round,” Schaake said. “It’s hard to make putts out there. The greens are a little bit tricky, late in the day they get a little bit bumpy, but they’re still really good.”

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Schaake said the conditions of the greens changed drastically from the first round to the last round — from soft and receptive to firm and fast.

“I was putting well, just nothing was going in,” Schaake said. “It was frustrating because I was hitting the ball so well.”

Schaake said he felt comfortable at Blue Top Ridge because of his college rounds there as a Hawkeye. He said the team played a couple of its qualifying tournaments there as well as numerous practice rounds.

While Walker and Schaake will have to wait another year to return to the Iowa Open, both players can take positives from the corridor swing into the Nebraska Open later this month and then to Korn Ferry Tour qualifying later this fall.

Schaake and Walker were two of 11 future, current, or former Hawkeyes in the event. Chad McCarty, who was a two-time All-Big Ten selection in the mid 1990s, finished 12th and Benton Weinberg, who played for Iowa from 2016-21 was 20th.