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Monday, June 24
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Deep team looking for leader

The 2012-13 season presented a challenge for the IU men’s golf program. Four-year letter winners and program stalwarts Chase Wright and David Erdy graduated, leaving Coach Mike Mayer’s program without something that is direly needed in collegiate golf — a star.

Fortunately for the Hoosiers, the lack of a standout player has bred depth in a program that boasts five consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.

“This team is as deep as any team I’ve been around,” Mayer said. “Parity can be a good thing, and for us, I think it is.”

The Hoosiers’ fall season, in which all 11 team members had scoring averages within seven shots of one another, was a lesson in the benefits and perils of team parity.

After a season-opening championship at the Northern Intercollegiate and a second-place finish at the Wolf Run Intercollegiate in the first two weeks of the season, the team struggled with consistency.

A last-place finish at the Isleworth Collegiate Invitational in October capped a run of three tournaments in which the Hoosiers finished outside the top five.

“I didn’t know that we were ready to win as quickly as we did,” Mayer said. “I don’t think we handled it that well. We exceeded our expectations at that point.”

Mayer said the poor mid-season form is due to mental barriers and the absence of senior Michael McGee, who contracted mononucleosis and was unable to play much of the season.

“(McGee) was one of our steady, top players,” senior Brant Peaper said. “But, nobody played to their potential in the fall, which was disappointing.”

After an offseason of heavy weight-room training and strength-building, the Hoosiers move into the spring season still searching for a solid on-course leader, Mayer said.

“It’s hard to be successful at the level we’re playing, against the competition we’re playing, without that guy that’s really a dominant player,” Mayer said.

The most likely candidate for the position, he said, is Peaper, who led the Hoosiers in both scoring average and top-five finishes in the fall season. A first-place individual finish at Wolf Run gave a glimpse of Peaper’s potential dominance.

“Even though Brant has led the way, we need Brant to step up,” Mayer said. “I’m not saying he isn’t (a dominant player). He showed that at Wolf Run, but we need him to step it up.”

The program begins the 2013 half of the season at the Big Ten Match Play

Championship on Feb. 8-9 in Bradenton, Fla., an event the Hoosiers struggled in last season.

That being said, players on the team said they are looking forward to the opportunity this season.

“If we play up to our abilities, we can definitely win it like in the past,” Peaper said.

Although the Hoosiers will try to capture their second victory of the season in Bradenton, their goals stretch far beyond February.

“We want to make NCAA Tournament play, but that’s not an easy thing to do,” Mayer said. “We want to win a Big Ten Championship. We came second last year, losing to Illinois by three shots.

“We’ve been able to develop a culture of making it in postseason play, but we need to make it further in postseason play, and that’s what we want to do.”

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