Hawkeyes Set for Robert Kepler Invitational

posted by Shane Sturtz -

THIS WEEK 

The Hawkeyes are set to golf in their last regular-sesaon tournament of the year at the Robert Kepler Intercollegiate in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday and Sunday.

TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE

Round 1: Saturday, April 21 -- 6:40 a.m. (CT) off holes No. 1 & 10

Round 2: Saturday, April 21 -- 12:40 p.m. (CT) off holes No. 1 & 10

Round 2: Sunday, April 23-- 7 a.m. to 9:06 a.m. (CT) off holes No. 1 & 10

FOLLOW THE ACTION

Fans can follow this weekend’s action by visiting golfstat.com for live scoring. Links can be found on the men’s golf schedule page at hawkeyesports.com.

THE FIELD

Iowa will be joined by 15 other teams. Four teams -- Illinois (14), Kent State (26), Penn State (34), and Purdue (46) -- are in Golfweek’s top-50 rankings. Ball State, Bowling Green, Colgate, Francis Marion, Miami (OH), Michigan State, Northern Illinois, Ohio State, Rutgers, Wisconsin, and Xavier round out the rest of the field.

THE COURSE

The 54-hole tournament will be played at Ohio State Golf Club’s Scarlet Course for the 42nd time in 46 years. A redesign by Jack Nicklaus, the par-71 course that stretches 7,455 yards was voted the top collegiate golf course in November 2009, by GolfChannel.com.

THE LINEUP

Alex Schaake will man the one spot in Iowa’s lineup, followed by Matthew Walker, Benton Weinberg, Sam Meuret, and Alex Moorman.

LAST TIME OUT

At Iowa’s lone home event of the year, the Hawkeyes placed second in the shortened 36-hole Hawkeye Invitational at Finkbine Golf Course. Brutal weather didn’t bother Alex Schaake who shot four-under-par (140) to finish in second place. Alex Moorman, who was competing as an individual, finished in third place, a career-best, at three-under-par. Two more Hawkeyes -- Ryoto Furuya and Sam Meuret -- secured top-20 finishes. Iowa held the lead for most of the second round, but ultimately finished behind Iowa State by one stroke.

LAST YEAR AT THE KEPLER

In last year’s event, the Hawkeyes claimed their second best finish of the year, placing third out of 15 teams. Matthew Walker finished 13th for his sixth top-20 finish of the season, while Jack Simpson and Alex Schaake also competed in the event. Illinois swept the tournament last year, claiming team and individual titles.

LEADER IN THE CLUBHOUSE

Sophomore Alex Schaake has been Iowa’s top finisher in all four of Iowa’s stroke-play events in the spring. Schaake went 2-2 at Big Ten Match Play to start the spring, followed by a third-place finish at the 36-hole Southern Intercollegiate. He tied for 12th at the Schenkel Invitational after carding a season low 18-hole score of 67 in the second round with seven birdies. Most recently, Schaake turned in two rounds at or below par to finish second in the Hawkeye Invitational. Schaake has been Iowa’s most consistent player this season, leading the team in 18-hole scoring average (71.56), top-10 finishes (4), and rounds at or below par (11).

SCHAAKE’S FOUR TOP-FIVE FINISHES

Schaake added his fourth top-five finish to his resume with a second-place finish at this past weekend’s Hawkeye Invitational. His first came at the Golfweek Conference Challenge with a second-place finish in September. His low scoring continued at the Windon Memorial Classic in October where he tied for fifth. The fall success carried over into the spring where Schaake finished third at the Southern Intercollegiate.

MOORMAN’S CAREER DAY AT THE HAWKEYE INVITATIONAL

Moorman finished in a career-best third place at the Hawkeye Invitational at Finkbine Golf Course. Moorman’s first round was nothing short of spectacular, registering seven birdies, including five in an eight-hole stretch. His first-round 68 was tied for the third lowest score of the tournament. He eagled the last hole of the second round with a long putt to finish at three-under-par (141).

CLIMBING THE LEADERBOARD

  • Six Hawkeyes -- Ryoto Furuya, Sam Meuret, Alex Moorman, Alex Schaake, Matthew Walker, and Benton Weinberg -- have competed in at least 17 rounds.
  • Schaake has 11 rounds at or below par, followed by Walker’s eight rounds at or below par. As a team, the Hawkeyes have carded 43 rounds at or below par.
  • Schaake leads the team in 18-hole scoring average at 71.56. Walker is second on the team averaging 73 strokes-per-round, followed by Weinberg’s 18-hole average of 73.69. Iowa’s team average sits at 73.14.
  • Schaake, Weinberg, and Moorman have carded 67s for Iowa’s low 18-hole score of the season.
  • Three Hawkeyes have at least two top-20 finishes, while Schaake alone has four top-five finishes. Moorman also has one top-five finish on the year.

WALKER THRIVES IN MATCH PLAY

In this year’s Big Ten Match Play Championships, junior Matthew Walker won three out of four individual matches to improve his career match play record to 10-2. He went 4-0 as a freshman, making him one of only six golfers to do so for the tournament. In back-to-back years, Walker finished 3-1 to have only two career losses on his career resume.

HAWKEYE NEWCOMERS

Iowa added two freshmen to its 2017-18 roster, Jaewook Lee (Langley, British Columbia) and Jake Rowe (Portadown, Northern Ireland). The freshmen competed in their first collegiate tournaments as individuals in the Zach Johnson Invitational, Oct. 2-3.

9 STRAIGHT NCAA APPEARANCES

Iowa has advanced to NCAA competition in each of the last nine seasons, joining Illinois as the only Big Ten teams selected to NCAA Regional competition in each of the last nine seasons. Iowa has advanced to the NCAA Championship finals three times in the last eight years (2009, 2011, 2012).

LINK UP WITH THE HAWKEYES

For an inside look at the Iowa men’s golf program and to access exclusive coverage, “like” Hawkeye men’s golf on Facebook and follow @IowaHawkeyeGolf on Twitter and Instagram.

LOOKING AHEAD

Following this tournament, the Hawkeyes head to Baltimore to compete in the Big Ten Championships, April 27-29. Last year, Iowa tied for fourth in the conference tournament.

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