Iowa men’s golf claims team title at Hawkeye Invitational, McClear grabs individual crown

The Hawkeyes’ three-round total of 29-under-par 835 was five shots better than the runner-up Kansas Jayhawks.


Emily Nyberg

Iowa’s Mac McClear celebrates after a made putt during the Hawkeye Invitational at Finkbine Golf Course in Iowa City on Saturday, April 15, 2023. The Hawkeyes led after all three rounds of the two-day tournament and took both the team and individual sweepstakes with Iowa’s Mac McClear taking the individual title.

Chris Werner, Assistant Sports Editor

The Iowa men’s golf team leapt out to a big lead after the first nine holes of the Hawkeye Invitational Friday afternoon and had the pressure of playing with the lead for the remaining 45 holes of the tournament. 

Hawkeye senior Mac McClear didn’t hold the solo individual lead until the 53rd hole of the event.

When it was all said and done, however, both the Iowa team and McClear individually took home titles Saturday afternoon at Finkbine Golf Course. 

As a team, the Hawkeyes’ 29-under-par total of 835 over three rounds of competition bested Kansas by five strokes, and McClear’s 10-under-par total of 206 was one shot clear of Kansas’ Gunnar Broin.

McClear began the Hawkeye Invitational with a 1-under-par 71 and followed it up with scores of 68 and 67 to claim his fourth collegiate victory — he had previously won the 2021 Spartan Collegiate, 2021 Big Ten Championship, and 2022 Iowa Fall Classic. 

McClear became the seventh Iowa player to win the Hawkeye Invitational individual championship since 2000 and 16th all-time. His four career individual wins are second in program history since 1961.

“I think all the great Hawkeye golfers have won the Hawkeye, something I hadn’t done, but you know, really happy I got it done this week,” McClear said after the victory. “Big Ten Championship, home tournament, that’s a decent resume.”

After converting three birdies in round one, the Hinsdale, Illinois, product made 13 over his final two rounds.

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

McClear played from behind for all but one hole of the event. After he made a 20-foot putt on the 17th hole, and Witchita State’s Blake Lorenz carded a triple bogey on his second-to-last hole, McClear found himself at 10-under-par, one shot ahead of Iowa State’s Paul Beauvy, and two clear of Broin.

“He’s a winner,” Iowa head coach Tyler Stith said of McClear. “Winners figure out how to win. He made a huge birdie on 12, birdied 17, I mean 17 was the putt, a 25-foot curler that just drips in the back side, and then came up with a great up and down on the last to get the win.  He’s the type of guy you want in those situations and when he’s there, he believes in himself. He executed today and got it done.”

Team-wise, Iowa never relinquished the lead after starting fast on Friday. 

The Hawkeyes fought off a late charge from Kansas, who tied the score at 21-under-par with roughly nine holes to go, but Iowa pulled away during the final stretch. 

“It wasn’t pretty today,” Stith said. “But coming down the stretch, they hit the shots and made the putts they needed to when it mattered, and, at the end of the day, nobody’s going to remember anything but those final six holes and the final score. I’m proud of the guys for stepping up in the last couple holes and making some putts.”

Iowa played its last six holes in a collective 6-under-par, whereas Kansas finished that same stretch in 3-under-par.

After finishing the third round’s first 12 holes in 1-over-par, Hawkeye junior Callum Macfie played the last six holes in 3-under-par. 

“Really big turnaround there,” Stith said of Macfie. “Callum bogeyed 11, bogeyed 12, hit a poor shot on 13. I talked to him a little bit, you could tell that he was getting himself down and just tried to keep him going, and he hit a pretty average chip there, left himself a long putt. 

“He made his par putt, and I think that just kept the momentum going, and he was able to make a few birdies after that. That was a defining point in his round, and he just came up with a great finish.”

Macfie ended the event in a tie for ninth individually at 4-under-par, tying with Ian Meyer for second on Iowa’s team.

The 2023 victory marks Iowa’s third Hawkeye Invitational team title in the last four editions of the tournament.

Iowa won in 2019, the tournament was canceled in 2020, Iowa won again in 2021, and Kansas won in 2022.

“It’s great to be able to win,” Stith said. “You know, it’s a totally different experience being in contention in our sport. You don’t get those chances often, especially in 12, and 15-team events and only one team gets to lift the trophy, so to be able to do it at home. in front of family and friends is awesome. I’m proud of these guys, they deserve it.”