Iowa men’s golfer Mac McClear, head coach Tyler Stith reflect on fall season

McClear and Stith each stressed the importance of offseason training as the Hawkeyes look to improve in the spring.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa’s Mac McClear walks off the course after a tournament victory during the Iowa Fall Classic at Blue Top Ridge Golf Course in Riverside, Iowa, on Monday, Oct. 17, 2022. McClear won the tournament after shooting two under par. The Hawkeyes defeated eight other teams to win the tournament, shooting 20 over par.

Matt McGowan, Sports Reporter

Iowa men’s golf senior Mac McClear strives for consistency on the course. 

The 2022 Illinois State Amateur Champion said that while he always hopes to have all facets of his game working together, he never really put it all together during the 2022 fall season.

“I never really had all parts of my game working,” McClear said. “It would be that I was hitting it well in one tournament, but I wasn’t putting it well. Next tournament I was putting well, but I wasn’t hitting well, so I have to find a tournament where I’m doing all the things correctly at the same time.” 

McClear won the individual title at the Iowa Fall Classic from Oct. 16-17 — his third individual college victory — but said he didn’t feel like he played his best. 

Iowa took home the team title at The Iowa Fall Classic, too, but the Hawkeye-hosted event marked Iowa’s only team finish in the top half of the leaderboard this fall. 

RELATED: Hawkeye men’s golf wins Iowa Fall Classic, Mac McClear nabs individual title

In their other four tournaments, the Hawkeyes were 12th of 15 teams at the Fighting Irish Classic, 12th of 16 at the Inverness Intercollegiate, ninth of 15 at the Purdue Fall Invitational, and 10th of 10 at the Williams Cup. 

McClear said his teammates are on the edge of some good results and better practice habits could be what Iowa needs to see improved scores. 

“I definitely think the guys are close to playing well,” McClear said. “We’ve just got to put in the extra work. Sometimes I think our focus or strict determination isn’t what it needs to be, so if we can just put in a little extra effort this offseason then I think we can get back to where we need to be.” 

Head coach Tyler Stith agreed with McClear about putting in extra effort but explained practice and training between the fall and spring seasons will be more individualized than they are during competition season. 

“It’s going to be different probably for each guy,” Stith said. “Some guys need to do some extra work in the gym, some guys need some extra work on putting. Try to compete if they can, as there are a handful of tournaments in the offseason.”

The youngest player on the roster, freshman Hogan Hansen, stepped into the five-man playing rotation after fifth-year senior Gonzalo Leal-Montero left the team midway through the season. Leal-Montero played in all 11 events in 2021-22 and every tournament this fall until his departure. 

In his first tournament of the season filling in for Leal-Montero, Hansen finished tied for 24th place at the Iowa Fall Classic. Competing individually in the next tournament, Hansen placed tied for 51st at the Williams Cup.

Junior Callum Macfie showed promise with a career-best fourth-place finish at the Iowa Fall Classic, and McClear said with more practice rounds, Macfie should continue his good play. 

“Callum is a hard worker,” McClear said. “It’s kind of just getting him to focus on the right things when he practices, in my opinion. He’s a guy who maybe wants to hit a lot of balls, focus on mechanics, rather than go out there and try to play golf. To go out and play on the course rather than hit balls on the range is what I think helps him.”

Sophomore Ian Meyer ended the fall season on a high note as the Hawkeyes’ top finisher at the Williams Cup, tying for 21st individually.

“He came off a good tournament last week, and I think he’s starting to focus a little more, [and] really get into it a little more,” McClear said of Meyer. “He’s a top talent and has a lot of potential. It’s just getting him to focus, and he can be really valuable. He’s got a house in South Carolina now, so I’m sure he’ll go over there over winter break and be able to keep his game sharp with warm weather.”

Iowa’s spring schedule has not been released.