When a team competes more than half of its season on the road, the pressure to win at home is inevitable. Senior Co-Captain Chase Wright said the IU men’s golf team had high expectations to win at the NYX Hoosier Invitational.
“We just needed to just enjoy and relax it a little bit more,” Wright said. “We had self-induced pressure on ourselves last week. There was a little bit of panic and doubt.”
The Hoosiers sat in third place after three rounds of play at their home course April 8, with an aura of disappointment when Northwestern took the team title. Lessons were learned in the squad’s first stroke-play event of the spring, which will be followed by the Robert Kepler Intercollegiate on Saturday and Sunday.
Ohio State will welcome 15 teams to its par-71 golf course in Columbus, Ohio. Eastern Michigan, Ball State and Northwestern will join IU and Ohio State in the 54-hole stroke play event. Junior Corey Ziedonis said a few members of the team have played the course before, but he is looking forward to his first run on the fairways.
“I’ve heard a lot of good things,” Ziedonis said. “Sometimes it’s better for us not to have past experiences at a course. But I’ve heard some horror stories as well.”
IU Coach Mike Mayer said he would work on loosening up the team after tight play last week. IU began competing in stroke-play later than other teams in the season.
“The Ohio State golf course suits us better than this one (IU Golf Course) because it’s tough, and you have to work for pars,” Mayer said. “Our expectation last week was birdie-birdie. We’re going to loosen everyone out a little bit, and I think we’ll be fine.”
Playing alongside Wright and Ziedonis is senior Co-Captain David Erdy, junior Brant Peaper and sophomore David Mills. Wright said the team’s lineup is strong, but players will need a strong mindset and confidence to be successful.
“A lot of the mistakes you make at this level are just before you hit the shot,” Wright said. “You have to know what you want to do and try to execute to the best of your ability. If it doesn’t happen the first time, you have to move on and hit it again.”
IU’s ranking fell from 31 to 36 in Golfstat rankings after last week’s event, but Wright said players cannot worry about that. They needs to focus on their game.
“After all, it’s just another tournament,” Wright said. “If we make it more than that, we’ll get disappointed. “One thing I’ve learned from a lot of people is that in college and beyond, you can’t treat a tournament anything more than what it is. It doesn’t matter if it’s PGA Tour or the Kepler Intercollegiate, somebody is going to play good golf, and we are capable of winning.”