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IU men’s golf pulls off upsets en route to fifth place finish



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Senior Christain Fairbanks practices chipping onto the green at the IU Golf Course during practice in Jan. 2018. The IU men's golf team finished fifth at last weekend's Big Ten Match Play tournament.   Buy Photos

Heading into Big Ten match-play, IU men’s golf knew it would need to pull off some upsets to get the results they wanted. 

The Hoosiers were able to do just that. 

IU started the tournament off by beating the top-ranked team in the East — Penn State. Following the upset, the Hoosiers were defeated by the No. 2 Michigan State Spartans. 

Day two began for the Hoosiers by defeating Rutgers in a tiebreak and getting set to face off against Illinois in the fifth-place match. 

Illinois came in as the No. 12 ranked team in the nation and No. 1 in the West portion of the bracket. The matchup came down to the final hole, in which freshman Ethan Shepherd was able to get a par and complete the victory for the Hoosiers. 

“I had just lost the previous three holes," Shepherd said. "I was three-up and then all of a sudden we were even. I just put one in the middle of the green and then ended up two-putting.”

Two years ago, the Hoosiers were able to upset a top-ranked Penn State team in match play, giving them confidence in starting off the tournament.

“We talked about that in our meetings,” IU Coach Mike Mayer said. “That Penn State match got us going off with the right kind of attitude and we got the results we needed.”

Senior Brendon Doyle, who went 3-1 on the weekend, and junior Jake Brown, who went 2-1-1, have both been leaders for the team this season and proved to be vital in match-play as well.

“They’re our two leaders no question,” Mayer said. “I think we got everything we needed up and down the line-up. 

IU will now have more than a month to prepare for the Mission Inn Spring Spectacular in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida. 

“It’s been a hard winter for us in Bloomington,” Mayer said. “We’ll take this as a positive thing and keep this as a motivator. It couldn’t happen at a better time for us.”

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