Among avid golf fans and regular sports enthusiasts alike, the first major of the PGA Tour will grab attention at Augusta National for the coming weekend.
Although Bloomington is lacking the azaleas, grand stands and the yellow emblem of the Masters, the men’s IU golf team will be competing on its own grounds Saturday and Sunday.
Returning to familiar territory after two events on the road, the squad will be the home team for the NYX Hoosier Invitational at the IU Golf Course.
The team will change from its offensive match play mindset of the past two events to the normalcy of stroke play.
Senior co-captain Chase Wright said the team is excited to finally compete in a stroke play event because it is their first of the season, and they have four more on
“Everybody else has been playing stroke play events earlier this year,” Wright said. “We are ready to get going and ready to compete in an environment where we can flourish.”
IU is top-ranked among the 15-team field, checking in at 31st in the Golfstat rankings.
Joining the Hoosiers in the 54-hole stroke play event are No. 56 Northwestern, Butler, Dayton, Ohio and Wright State.
The Hoosiers look to claim their fourth-consecutive team title at the event. Last year, they won by 15 strokes at even-par 852.
Aside from IU having the home-course advantage, Wright said the team is prepared to return to Midwest conditions.
The squad competed at the Concessions Golf Club for its past two events in
“Obviously, it’s different grasses, which makes a big difference, and the weather is good here,” Wright said. “We always seem to have a little bit of wind and rain everywhere we go. It’s different here than in Florida, but it’s what we are used to.”
Senior co-captain David Erdy will join Wright in the lineup this weekend coming off his undefeated run at the Callaway Collegiate Match Play Championship.
Erdy’s 4-0 finish at the event earned him his third career Big Ten Golfer of the Week honor, which he received March 21.
At the invitational in 2011, Erdy tied for second as the top finisher for the squad, posting a three-under-par 210.
Also in the lineup are juniors Brant Peaper and Corey Ziedonis, as well as sophomore David Mills.
The Indiana Crimson lineup will include juniors Michael McGee and Kyle Perry, sophomore Hugo Menendez and freshmen Andrew Fogg and Nicholas Grubnich. Junior John Beringer will compete as an individual.
Once the NYX Hoosier Invitational is underway, the squad will play three consecutive events in Indiana and Ohio, including the Big Ten Championship at the Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort.
For now, Wright said, the team is ready to take advantage of being on its
“There’s nobody that’s played this course more than me and David (Erdy),” Wright said. “Anywhere you play on a regular basis gives you an advantage. I think we just need to be comfortable and treat it like any other day we are out there. As long as we’re relaxed, we will have the upper hand, and that’s how it should be.”