Former Hawkeye Schaake punches ticket to 2023 U.S. Open
University of Iowa alumnus Alex Schaake qualified for the U.S. Open after a nerve wracking 8-hole playoff at the U.S. Open Final Qualifying at Springfield Country Club in Springfield, Ohio. Monday, coined “Golf’s Longest Day” by the USGA, featured numerous 36-hole Final Qualifiers around the country, where some of the best amateur and professional golfers looked to secure their spot in the U.S. Open to be held at Los Angeles Country Club later this summer.
Schaake (right), an Omaha, Nebraska native, had a prolific amateur and collegiate career. In high school Schaake was a two-time Nebraska Junior Amateur Champion, continuing in college to win four-straight Nebraska Amateur titles, and holds the second-most wins in Nebraska Golf Association tournaments ever. He was the only Hawkeye to be voted Big Ten Player of the Year twice, only Hawkeye to be all-conference all four years, holds the lowest season scoring average yet, and holds three of the top four lowest 54-hole totals in university history.
The road to the U.S. Open wasn’t easy for Schaake. Before yesterday’s 44-hole marathon, he scraped his way through local qualifiers by birdieing his final three holes last month at Omaha Country Club. A 2-under first round at Springfield Country Club kept Schaake in contention, but it was a stellar second round that propelled Schaake to his playoff berth. One eagle and five birdies, four of which in the back nine alone, rounded out a 5-under 65 and a three-way tie for fourth in the standings.
He joined Dylan Wu and The Ohio State University’s Maxwell Moldovan in search of one of the two remaining spots. Wu clinched the first spot after birdieing the first playoff hole, but the battle between Schaake and Moldovan was only beginning. Matching scores for seven holes, Schaake finally broke away with a short birdie putt on the eighth hole to Moldovan’s par. It was a joyous scene as Schaake celebrated, clearly elated, in the dying evening light.
Schaake has earned his place at the 123rd U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club (June 15-18) and the opportunity to compete with some of the best players in the world.