IU finishes 8th place at Big Ten Tournament
The Hoosiers trailed the tournament winner, Minnesota, by 29 strokes by the end of the final round. IU Coach Mike Mayer said he was disappointed in the result, but that it was a good learning experience for the team.
“We knew we were lacking strength going in to it,” Mayer said. “We only had one guy with experience here so I’m not too surprised we finished eighth.”
The top performer for IU was junior Nicholas Grubnich, who tied for seventh with scores of 76-79-74-70 for a total of 299, 11 over par.
Mayer said the most impressive of those scores was Grubnich’s two over par score in the third round despite fighting what Mayer called the worst collegiate golf conditions he’d ever seen.
“There were 30 mile-per-hour winds all day,” Mayer said. “It was a battle the whole way through, and I guess the golf course won that battle for most guys.”
Grubnich’s score in the third round was tied for the fourth-best in the field.
“It’s funny because normally wind conditions are not kind to him,” Mayer said. “But we talked to him about keeping it in front of him and doing what the golf course allows him to do and he did just that.”
Grubnich also said the key to that round was not trying to do too much.
“It was so windy, you could barely stand up on the greens,” Grubnich said. “I just kept telling myself to keep it in the fairway and that pars would go a long way in that round.”
Grubnich said despite being disappointed in the team’s overall finish, his own performance was at least some consolation.
“Obviously I want the team to come first,” Grubnich said. “But it eases the pain slightly knowing that I did well. It gives a little confidence for me moving in to next season.”
The next best scores for the Hoosiers came from the team’s two seniors, David Mills and Hugo Menendez. Both tied for 31st with totals of 306 during the course of the tournament.
Mayer said Mills was battling more than just the rest of the Big Ten when he hit the links this weekend.
“No excuses but David had to fight a bad case of bronchitis that really affected his game,” said. “I haven’t hid the fact that we’re only going to be as good as David is for us. I don’t mean to throw it all on him, but we knew if we wanted to have a great tournament, we needed him to perform.”
Sophomore Max Kollin tied for 41st overall with a final tally of 308 strokes. Freshman Will Seger tied for 53rd with a 317. Besides Mills, no Hoosier golfer had any experience in the Big Ten Championship.
The team won’t qualify for a regional this year, but Mayer said the season was beneficial for a young team. Grubnich said he’s already looking forward to what the team will do next year.
“I thought it was a good learning year for us,” Grubnich said. “We lost a lot last year so there were some big shoes to fill. It was nice to see some of the younger guys step up, and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish next year.”