Iowa men’s golf in second place after first two rounds at Iowa Fall Classic

The Hawkeyes are one shot behind first-place Valparaiso after the opening two rounds of competition.


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, Assistant Sports Editor

The Iowa men’s golf team is one shot behind first-place Valparaiso after day one of the Iowa Fall Classic.

The Hawkeyes shot a combined 20-over-par 596 over the first 36 holes of the event Sunday at Blue Top Ridge Golf Course in Riverside, Iowa.

Three Iowa players are inside the top five of the leaderboard. Senior Mac McClear is leading the tournament at 2-under-par. Junior Callum Macfie is in third at 2-over-par, and senior Ronan Kleu is fourth at 3-over-par. 

McClear posted rounds of 70 and 72 on Sunday. Macfie, who is playing as an unattached individual, fired a 68 and a 78. Kleu carded a 73 in the morning and 74 in the afternoon. 

“It was a tough day,” Iowa head coach Tyler Stith said. “Windy and cold all day long. For the most part, I thought that when the guys, I know they all worked hard. We didn’t finish well this morning. We started playing better this afternoon and looked like we were making up some ground. Unfortunately, I think we had a couple of big numbers coming in. But I think we’ll be in contention tomorrow.”

McClear follows game plan, takes overnight lead

Following a top-five showing at last week’s Purdue Fall Invitational, McClear is in position for another strong finish tomorrow. 

If he were to win, the victory would mark his third collegiate title. McClear won the 2021 Spartan Collegiate and took home the Big Ten Championship trophy later that spring.

During Sunday’s two rounds, McClear recorded eight birdies, six bogeys, and 22 pars.

“It was interesting,” McClear said. “I didn’t feel like I played that well, honestly. It was a struggle out there. But I feel like I stayed in it pretty well. Me and [assistant coach Charlie Hoyle] had a good game plan. Got it around, I guess you could say. But it wasn’t easy, that’s for sure.”

McClear said his mindset of taking things one shot at a time will be important tomorrow as he tries to get into the winner’s circle for the first time in nearly a year and a half.

“We’ll just try to hit a couple good shots tomorrow and see what happens,” McClear said. 

Kleu rounds into form, stays patient

Kleu hasn’t gotten off to the start he hoped for this fall. The senior from Switzerland missed the Hawkeyes’ first event of the season and finished in a tie for 59th in their second.

But after a tie for 14th at the Purdue Fall Invitational, Kleu is primed for his best finish as a Hawkeye.

Kleu tied for sixth at the Marquette Invitational last fall and tied for eighth one tournament later. He hasn’t tallied a top-ten finish since then. 

Five birdies in the first 36 holes have Kleu in fourth position with 18 holes to play.

“[Tomorrow] I definitely need to dress warmly,” Kleu said. “I got very cold towards the end. And other than that, be aware of the fact that the ball is not gonna fly as far and that it is just going to be playing that much tougher due to the conditions. Stick to the game plan, stay patient, it’ll come together.”

Macfie opens with 68, finishes Sunday in third

Callum Macfie didn’t qualify to play on Iowa’s roster this week, but since the Hawkeyes are playing at home, he got to compete as an individual. 

The junior from Yorkshire, England, is making the most of the opportunity. 

Macfie opened play Sunday morning with a sparkling 68, consisting of five birdies and just one bogey. 

In the afternoon, it was a different story for the Englishman. Three birdies, seven bogeys, and a double bogey added up to a 10-over-par round of 78. 

Even with the 10-shot increase, Macfie finds himself in third place — two shots out of second place and four behind the lead.

Macfie said tomorrow will be an opportunity to practice staying in the moment mentally and keeping everything simple.

“[I’m going to] take it more as an opportunity,” Macfie said. “Like you said, to have my best college finish and just accept every shot. I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”

Macfie’s best collegiate finish so far is 36th place. 

The final round of the Iowa Fall Classic is set to begin tomorrow at 9 a.m.