The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Hawkeye men’s golf finishes second to Cyclones at ANF Fall Classic

Despite his individual title, reigning Big Ten champion Mac McClear finished 12 under par, but it was not enough to boost Iowa ahead of its rival.
Emily Nyberg
Iowa’s Mac McClear waits to putt during the Hawkeye invitational at Finkbine Golf Course in Iowa City on Saturday, April 15, 2023. The Hawkeyes lead 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.

The Iowa men’s golf team finished second to Iowa State in the Hawkeye-hosted ANF Fall Classic at Blue Ridge Top Golf Course in Riverside, Iowa, on Wednesday.

The annual meet marks the Hawkeyes’ 2023 season opener. This year, after winning the event last season, they were looking to defend their title against the likes of rival Iowa State and North Alabama.

But a disappointing first day on Tuesday saw the Hawkeyes at three under par and 13 strokes behind the leading Cyclones. After competing in an NCAA Regional last season, Iowa State showed no signs of slowing down on day one, ending the day 16 under par. 

“We’ve got a lot of golf left,” Iowa head coach Tyler Stith said at a media availability following day one. 

And the Hawkeyes did battle back, finishing round three with a team score of 289, good for one over par and a total of two under par on the two-day meet.

The gusty Wednesday wind seemed to restrict the Cyclones, who fired 12 over par in the third round to nearly squander their huge lead, although they narrowly escaped with a win by a two-stroke margin to squash the Hawkeyes’ hopes of a repeat at home.

All four NCAA Division I schools in Iowa competed in this year’s event, but none came close to the Hawkeyes and Cyclones at the top. Drake finished in sixth place while Northern Iowa finished 10th. 

Out of the twelve teams competing in this season’s classic, only Iowa and Iowa State finished under par. 

McClear wins individual title 

Unsurprisingly, Iowa’s fifth-year senior Mac McClear stole the show once again, winning his second-straight ANF Fall Classic individual title. 

Although Wright State’s Mikkel Mathiesen jumped out to an early lead, entering the final round two strokes ahead of the field, McClear found his groove on Wednesday. 

The Hinsdale, Illinois, native and Big Ten champion fired a final round five under par, earning him a total tournament score of 204 — 12 under par and three strokes ahead of Mathiesen — good for the individual win despite the 15-mile-per-hour winds.

“I usually like the winds,” McClear said. 

Freshman promise 

Iowa placed two freshmen in the starting lineup: Noah Kent and Max Tjoa. Although both have previous experience in high-level tournaments in high school, the ANF Fall Classic marked their college tournament debuts. 

Still recovering from a broken wrist, Kent turned in a solid scorecard, finishing in a tie for 11th place at a total of one over par. 

Tjoa, hailing from Cedar Falls, Iowa, started the tournament off strong, going one under par in the first round. He became inconsistent in the final two rounds, finishing the tournament in a tie for 34th place at nine over par.

Despite their freshman inexperience, Stith is confident in the direction Kent and Tjoa are heading. 

“They’ve been doing a great job in practice,” Stith said. “They’ve played a lot of tournament golf in their career.” 

Both Kent and Tjoa have qualified for U.S. junior amateur tournaments, with Tjoa competing in the 2021 event. Kent was scheduled to compete in the 2022 event but was forced to withdraw due to his wrist injury. 

Up next

The Hawkeyes will travel to Chicago on Sept. 18-19 to play in the Chicago Highlands Collegiate at the Chicago Highlands Club, hosted by Wake Forest. 

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About the Contributors
Brad Schultz
Brad Schultz, Sports Reporter
Brad Schultz is a sophomore at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in Sports Studies. This is first year working as a sports reporter and he has a deep passion and love for sports. Outside of the Daily Iowan, Brad is a contributor for Saturday Blitz, a college football site, with his content primarily covering Iowa and the Big Ten.
Emily Nyberg
Emily Nyberg, Visual Editor
Emily Nyberg is a second-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinematic arts. Prior to her role as a Visual Editor, Emily was a Photojournalist, and a News Reporter covering higher education.