Schaake emulates Spieth after Classic

BY CHARLIE GREEN | JULY 14, 2015 5:00 AM

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Soon-to-be Hawkeye junior Carson Schaake has accomplished a lot in his two years as an Iowa golfer.

Now, he can add competing in a professional event to that list.

“Overall, I’m not 100 percent happy with how I played at the Deere,” Schaake said. “But just being able to play and get the experience, and hit range balls with the pros was amazing.”

Schaake shot a 4-over-par 75 on the first day and a 3-over on the next, finishing his first PGA-Tour début at 7-over-par. The Omaha native missed the cut for the third day of competition, but nonetheless took a lot from it.

“When I look back on it, I played well, I just didn’t putt well enough to make the cut or contend,” Schaake said. “But all you can do is take positives away from it, learn from it, and hopefully, next time it’s a little bit better.”

Perhaps the most value he took from the outing was merely being in the presence of one of the PGA’s best golfers. Masters and U.S. Open Champion Jordan Spieth took part (and won) despite the British Open beginning Thursday, and Schaake soaked up all he could from a golfer who’s on a historically great run.

“I actually was able to putt with him and next to him,” Schaake said. “I wanted to be kind of where he was and just experience what he goes through.”

It’s been a wild 2015 for Schaake thus far. On April 25 he became the Big Ten Cochampion after scoring 4-under-par over 72 holes. A sophomore at the time, he became just the third golfer in Iowa history to win at the Big Ten championship. He also set a personal 18-hole record by shooting a 7-under 65 on day two.

Now he’s using the summer to fine-tune his game, and the Deere Classic gave him a taste of the psyche and pace of professional golfers.

“Coming into college, for the first couple of years, I learned I had to be a lot more patient on the golf course,” Schaake said. “And once I got out there, I realized I had to take it to a whole new level.”

Schaake noted that the best golfers play a calculated, slow, and boring style — especially Spieth.

“I need to stay focused and hit one shot at a time,” he said. “Hit fairways, hit greens, hit putts here and there, and that’s how you can be successful on the golf course.”

Because of the intense amount of focus the game demands, Schaake also talked about the importance of taking time away from the sport to clear his mind.

But it won’t last too long.

He’ll be back in action for the Waterloo Open on Friday, an amateur event he won last summer. After that, he’ll have a few more tournaments before he begins his junior season as a Hawkeye.

“Going into the college year, I’m super excited, I’m ready to go,” Schaake said. “I think we can have just an amazing year.”

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