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Monday, Dec. 11
The Indiana Daily Student


Men's golf sixth in Big Ten championship

After a three-month competitive layoff, the IU men’s golf program returned to action at the Big Ten Match Play Championship this weekend, finishing sixth in a series of tight matches.

After receiving a first-round bye at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla., the fourth-seeded Hoosiers fell to No. 5 Ohio State 2-1-2. Senior Brant Peaper was the lone match winner against the Buckeyes, while seniors Michael McGee and David Mills halved their matches.

IU Coach Mike Mayer described the result as closer than the scoreline indicated on a golf course that he said favored experience.

“We had a chance to close out the match. We felt like we kind of gave the match away,” Mayer said. “It’s a different kind of format, when you sit when the other guys play and get accustomed to the golf course. I think there’s a big advantage in not having the bye and being out there playing.”

The first-round loss placed the Hoosiers in the consolation bracket, where they squared off with Purdue, defeating the Boilermakers 3-0-2.

McGee, senior Corey Ziedonis, and sophomore Andrew Fogg won their respective matches, while Peaper and Mills halved each of their matchups. Mayer said the victory, in which no Hoosier golfer lost a match against the rival Boilermakers, was critical for the team’s confidence.

“Progressively, we got better and better every round,” Mayer said. “We want to beat everybody, but we especially want to beat Purdue, so we had a little more motivation.
“We just kind of took care of business with Purdue. It was a lopsided victory.”

The Hoosiers’ triumph over Purdue moved them into the fifth-place match, where they met three-time defending champion Northwestern. IU fell by way of tiebreaker after a 2-2-1 finish against the Wildcats.

Peaper led the way for the Hoosiers, beating national top-100 player Nicholas Losole 2-and-1.

The senior standout’s performance over the weekend was the step up that the team needed, Mayer said.

“Brant’s our one guy, and he played like our one guy. He’s one of the top players in this conference and in this country, and he proved that,” Mayer said. Mills also won his matchup against Northwestern, beating Matthew Negri 5-and-4. Andrew Fogg halved his match for the Hoosiers, who lost the match on a total-holes-won tiebreaker.

Illinois won the event without losing an individual match. The Illini’s sole dropped point came in the quarterfinals, when Charlie Danielson halved his match with Michigan’s Matt Alessi.

The Hoosiers’ sixth-place finish, while not the intended result, provides optimism for the spring season, Mayer said.

“Overall we accomplished some of the things we wanted to. Obviously we wanted to win, but we got better and better,” Mayer said.

Much of the team’s prospects for the spring season come in the form of Peaper, who has been a steady force in an otherwise inconsistent team.

“Brant has played really well,” McGee said. “We have a clear number one guy, and he’s our team leader without a doubt. He’s off to a good start, so we can count on him every week, but we need to give him help and put up numbers that are comparable to his to win.”

The Hoosiers’ next competition tees off February 22 at the Bayou City Collegiate Championships in Houston.

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