Indiana Daily Student

Former IU golfer returns for event

Jeff Overton smashes the ball off the 12th tee during the third round of the AT&T National PGA tournament at Aronimink Golf Club on Jul. 3, 2011 in Newton Square, Pa.
Jeff Overton smashes the ball off the 12th tee during the third round of the AT&T National PGA tournament at Aronimink Golf Club on Jul. 3, 2011 in Newton Square, Pa.

Many athletes might think it’s good to be home when they have the opportunity to return to familiar soil and showcase their talents near their hometown. PGA TOUR member Jeff Overton will do just that this weekend.

Because of his performance during this season, the 2005 IU graduate earned the chance to play in front of thousands of Hoosiers when the TOUR stops at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind., for the BMW Championship, Thursday through Sunday.
Overton said he is familiar with the course and has played on it several times. It is 4 hour drive from Evansville, where Overton was born and raised.

“I really wanted to play at Crooked Stick all year,” Overton said. “It’s kind of been circled on the schedule of things to do this year.”

The event is the first tour stop at Crooked Stick since John Daly won the 1991 PGA Championship.

“I didn’t even know what golf was at that time,” Overton said. “That would have been the last sport I would have been thinking about playing at age 8.”

He might not have thought about golf then, but he said the sport is in the forefront of his thoughts as he prepares to play his first professional tournament in his home state.
The BMW Championship is the third of four events in the PGA TOUR playoffs, the FedEx Cup. It will feature the top 70 golfers based on points they earn throughout the season for performance.

Entering the first playoff event, The Barclays in Farmingdale, N.Y., Overton was ranked 58th. Even though he missed the cut after shooting +3 during the first two days, dropping him to 83rd in the rankings, Overton still qualified for the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston, the second playoff event.

His play on the 72-hole event garnered Overton a seventh-place finish. His efforts were rewarded with $258,000. It also improved his position in the FedEx point standings to 40th.

“I’ve never had so much energy,” Overton said. “I don’t know if it’s the playoffs or just because it’s here, but I was so nervous. ... I knew I wanted to make it back here. The last thing I wanted to do was be sitting down there in Bloomington at my house, watching this thing on TV.”

At IU, Overton learned under the tutelage of IU Coach Mike Mayer. As a result of his play on the course, he won several honors during his time at IU, including two second team All-American selections and the title of 2005 Big Ten Champion.

Despite preparing the current Hoosiers for their first event of the season, Mayer found time to drive north and visit Overton.

“It’s fun to have (Mayer) come up,” Overton said. “He gets excited. It’s kind of your dream to get to coach somebody that ends up playing on a tour, just like it is for me to get a coach that follows me.”

Since he turned professional in 2005, Overton has yet to record a victory, but he does have 24 top-10 finishes and earnings totaling more than $9.7 million in 185 events.
During the first two rounds, Overton is paired with Graeme McDowell and Tom Gillis. The three tee off at 12:21 p.m. Thursday from hole 10 and 11:15 a.m. Friday from hole one.

The event concludes Sunday, when the top 30 in the points standings advance to the TOUR Championship in Atlanta, beginning Sept. 20.

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