By Jordan Zuniga
After the conclusion of the Big Ten Championships on April 29, the Hawkeyes felt they had done just enough to make it to an NCAA regional. They finished third in the competition and had preceded their Big Ten Tournament performance with a couple of solid tournaments.
Going into the selection show on May 2, they knew they were on the bubble, and unfortunately, the selection committee did not think the Iowa men’s team had done enough to qualify for its 10th-straight regional.
There’s no doubt whether the Hawkeyes were disappointed with not being selected for the regional, and they will be focused on next season, but there is something they can root for in the upcoming regional — Alex Schaake was selected to compete as an individual in the Ohio State Regional.
It’s not too big of a surprise that Schaake was picked; he has been Iowa’s go-to golfer all season long.
“Alex has been a real leader for us on the golf course this year,” head coach Tyler Stith said. “He’s one of the guys who just continues to get better and improve each and every week.”
Schaake certainly has been a major part in the success the Hawkeyes have had. Of Iowa’s 12 tournaments this year, Schaake has been the top individual Hawkeye finisher in six.
With that, it’s no surprise to also find Schaake atop most statistical categories as well. He leads the Hawkeyes in 18-hole average with 71.74, top-10 finishes with four, as well as top-20 finishes with six. He also leads the team in rounds at or below par with 13.
Given Schaake’s stellar season, it’s no surprise that the sophomoreearned his first selection to compete in a NCAA regional. The selection came just a few days after he received an All-Big Ten second-team selection.
At this particular regional, there will be 13 teams to join 10 individuals. Those 10 individuals, including Schaake, are part of 45 who were selected by the committee to compete in a regional.
Joining Schaake at the Ohio State Regional will be Kyle Mueller, Matthew Anaumec, Patrick Flavin, David Kocher, Daniel Wetterich, Peter Knade, Jacob Poore, Zach Schroeder, and Nick Wilkins.
The regional will be played on the Ohio State Golf Club, on the Scarlet Course in Columbus.
Schaake is no stranger to this course; he has competed on it twice. The first time was last year, where he had a rough tournament, swinging for a 235 (22-over) and 52nd place.
This year’s go at Ohio State was much better, and he hit a 219 (6-over) to place 21st in that tournament. He will hope for a performance that mirrors the latter when he tees up for the regional.
The regional will begin May 14 and continue May 15 and 16. Schaake will have to be on his game if he hopes to advance to the 2018 Championships.