Iowa men’s golf leads by six strokes after day one of Hawkeye Invitational

All five Hawkeyes are under par through 27 holes at Finkbine Golf Course.


Emily Nyberg

Iowa’s Mac McClear takes a shot during the Hawkeye invitational at Finkbine Golf Course in Iowa City on Friday, April 14, 2023.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

The Iowa men’s golf team is on top of the Hawkeye Invitational team leaderboard 27 holes into the tournament at Finkbine Golf Course. 

With 27 holes left to play on Saturday, all five Iowa players are under par, and the Hawkeyes’ 16-under-par team score leads second-place Northern Illinois by six shots. 

Senior Mac McClear is in a tie for fourth individually, at 4-under-par, senior Ronan Kleu and junior Callum Macfie are in a tie for seventh at 3-under-par, sophomore Ian Meyer is tied for 13th at 2-under par, and freshman Hogan Hansen is at 1-under-par, in a tie for 16th.

Through his first 18 holes Friday, McClear, a three-time collegiate individual champion, was in a tie for 12th place at 1-under-par, but he caught fire during his final nine of day one as darkness descended upon Iowa City.

McClear said a hot putter was the reason for his four birdies in the first six holes of round two.

“Made some putts,” McClear said after he made a bogey on the ninth hole to end the first day. “It was definitely harder than it needed to be today. I didn’t hit my driver great, didn’t hit my irons great, chipping was OK, but yeah kind of just saved it with the putter.”

Blake Lorenz of Witchita State is currently leading the tournament at 7-under-par through 11 holes of his second round, and McClear said he’ll need to strike the ball better to have a chance at his fourth college crown.

“I actually missed it in a lot of terrible places that you’re not supposed to miss it knowing the course,” McClear said.  [The home course advantage] didn’t really help me today, but hopefully I can fix that tomorrow … I got to play the par-5s better, I think if I do that I’ll have a good chance.”

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McClear played the par 5s in 2-under-par on day one, placing him in the bottom third of the field in that category. 

Even though his team is leading the event by six strokes, Iowa head coach Tyler Stith, like McClear, pointed to par-5 scoring as a key to victory tomorrow. 

As a team, Iowa played the par 5s in 11-under-par, tied for 10th out of the 13 teams competing. 

“Overall I mean glad to be in the position that we’re in,” Stith said. “But just based on what I saw today, we just didn’t play the par 5s well enough, just made too many fives and honestly, we had a few sixes and sevens too. Most of [the par 5s] were downwind today, and we just didn’t take advantage of that. We’ve got good teams behind us, so  we know that they’re gonna probably make a run tomorrow. In order for us to maintain that lead and we just have to play the par 5s better.”

Stith said that while McClear didn’t get off to the best start, he was happy with the other Hawkeyes’ performances to keep the team at the top of the leaderboard. 

Macfie, Kleu, Meyer, and junior Filipe Pedraza, who is competing as an individual, each made at least five birdies in the first round. 

Macfie tallied eight birdies in round one, including four in his first five holes.

“Mac didn’t get off to a great start but the other some of the other guys stepped up,” Stith said. “To me, that’s the most positive thing about the day, and then, you know, [McClear’s] playing better, but we just need all five guys pushing and we’ll be in good shape.”

Tomorrow’s action will begin at 9 a.m. and can be followed live at An Iowa team victory would be its third in the last four Hawkeye Invitationals.