By Jordan Zuniga
Mother Nature tried her best to drown Finkbine and stop the Hawkeye Invitational this past weekend, but she failed, and the tournament went on.
The harsh weather did have a small say in the tournament, shortening the tournament to 36 holes (down from 54). It was the worst weather some Hawkeyes had ever golfed in.
“Not only the rain but the wind,” Alex Schaake said. “I’ve never played in anything tougher.”
Despite the weather, the Hawkeyes had themselves a weekend, placing second in the tournament just 1 stroke behind Iowa State. While the Hawkeyes played better than they have recently, losing by 1 stroke is never the ideal outcome.
“We wanted to win,” Alex Moorman said. “It was tough today. We all pushed through and did a good job.”
A silver lining for the Hawkeyes is their performance was a lot better than the previous few weeks. It’s the first time this season that the Hawkeyes have finished in the top three, and they hope to ride that momentum the rest of the season.
Iowa had a steady first round of the tournament, shooting a 285 (3-under) to put them in third heading into the final round. Most of their success on the first day one came because of solid play in the second half of the day after a rough start.
“We made to many bogeys on the first half of the day,” head coach Tyler Stith said. “But fortunately, the guys hung in there, and battled back, and made some birdies coming in.”
That strong finish carried over to the second day; the Hawkeyes were the only team to finish with a score under 300 (299, 11-over), but unfortunately, that wasn’t quite enough.
Individually, several Hawkeyes excelled — four golfers finished in the top 15, the most so far this year.
Pacing Iowa was a familiar face in Schaake, who has led the squad in almost every tournament. He finished second with a two-round score of 140 (4-under).
Right behind him was sophomore Moorman, who swung his clubs to the score of 141. Moorman’s third-place finish was the best in his Hawkeye career, and he wasn’t the only one to secure a career-best finish. Sophomore Ryoto Furuya also did.
Furuya finished his tournament off with a 148 two-round score, good enough for 11th.
The last top-15 finisher for the Hawkeyes was Sam Meuret, who wound up in 14th place with a score of 149.
While the success the Iowa golfers had was the main cause for celebration, the nice add-on was they got to be successful at their home golf course in front of Hawkeye fans.
“It’s always nice to play a golf tournament on your home course,” Schaake said. “Obviously, we didn’t come out on top, but to have the fans here and be so close to home, it’s very comfortable for us. We played well and look forward to it next year.”
Iowa’s next tournament will be the Kepler Invitational in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday and April 22.