IU men’s golf Coach Mike Mayer entered the Windon Memorial in Evanston, Illinois, looking for a go-to golfer.
After a 14th-place finish at the Fighting Illini Invitational in September during which the Hoosiers had no golfers finish inside the top 20, they looked to gain some momentum.
IU came out strong by finishing fourth on day one, before darkness suspended play in the second round. After a strong third round, the team finished the tournament in third, four strokes behind first place.
IU had four golfers finish in the top 20, with senior Brendon Doyle and junior Jake Brown placing in the top 10.
“That’s quite an accomplishment,” Mayer said. “Maybe, instead of looking for the go-to guy, I’m looking for the go-to team. My hat’s off these guys. They’ve worked their butts off, and all their work is paying dividends.”
Doyle’s career-low round of 5-under 65 in the third round propelled him into a tie for first place. Doyle became the first Hoosier to win a medal in a tournament since Brown did it as a freshman in April 2016.
“I felt really good about the way I was hitting the golf ball,” Doyle said. “I feel pretty confident in my putting. I was able to hit greens and give myself opportunities for birdies.”
Despite finishing in a tie for 49th at the Wolf Run Intercollegiate and tying for 56th at the Fighting Illini Invitational, Doyle said he still feels confident as an upperclassman to step into that leadership role for the Hoosiers.
“I felt really comfortable today in that position,” Doyle said. “I feel like my game’s finally there, and I trust it enough right now. I think I could definitely be a leader for the team, on or off the golf course. I think we could use that to motivate everybody else to step up their game as well.”
After a tough junior season during which his best single-round score was 71, Doyle has put all his attention toward playing a more relaxed game with a positive attitude.
“He’s really come a long way,” Mayer said. “He had a difficult end to the season last year. There’s no question he’s a great ball-striker. It would be big for this program, and this team if he could play the way he played this tournament.”
The third-place finish is the best team finish for the Hoosiers since April.
The team will now have a week off before playing its second tournament in Indiana this season. The Crooked Stick Invitational will be in Carmel, Indiana, and will include a field of 12 teams.
“There’s a lot of excitement, especially at a course like Crooked Stick,” Doyle said. “I think everybody’s really excited to have one close to home. It’s a place we’re comfortable at and we’ve played a bunch.”
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