IU men’s golf coach Mike Mayer said his team is just excited to be back in the NCAA Tournament.
As a bubble team, the team collectively celebrated when it heard its name called May 6 during the tournament selection show.
Now the Hoosiers find themselves in Fayetteville, Ark. Thursday through Saturday for the NCAA Regional at The Blessing Golf Club. It is their sixth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Regional.
It’s a familiar atmosphere for several Hoosiers. Seniors Brant Peaper and Corey Ziedonis are playing in their fourth NCAA Regional. The event is also junior David Mills’ third.
“We know what to expect. We know what we’re going to have to do,” Mayer said. “I don’t think we’re going to be surprised. I don’t think we’re going to be overwhelmed. I don’t think we’re going to let the conditions or let the atmosphere get to us. We’ve been there. We’ve been there a lot. These guys can carry us through.”
Mayer said the Blessing course is “perhaps the most difficult golf course that we will ever play,” but feels it fits his team’s style of play.
He said the course is a grinding course that will be difficult to drive from and achieve birdies. Teams will have to work to make par.
“It’s going to require your attention from the beginning to the end,” Mayer said. “It’s a golf course for tough teams. I really think we’re that kind of team. I think we’re a tough, kind of grinding team.”
Adding to Mayer’s confidence is that Mills played at The Blessing Golf Club as a junior golfer in the Rolex Tournament of Champions. He said the team will be relying on Mills to give some tips about the course.
Joining Peaper, Ziedonis and Mills in the lineup will be senior Michael McGee and sophomore Andrew Fogg. This was the same lineup the team used in the Big Ten Tournament when the team tied for fourth. Mills, Peaper, McGee and Ziedonis all finished in the top 25 at that event.
The finish appeared to help the Hoosiers, but they still sat anxiously waiting to hear their name on May 6. Despite the finish, Mayer still wasn’t completely sure IU’s name would be called.
“We were definitely a little on-edge,” Mayer said. “We were a bubble team throughout the spring. We thought we did everything we needed to do to get in. We thought the committee would look at some other factors, including that we won three events throughout the year. And I think they did.”
Now that his team is back in the tournament, Mayer said the past doesn’t really matter. Now, a whole new season begins.
“It was a little bit of a struggle this year to make it in,” he said. “We had some hiccups along the way, but for the most part we finished strong and we got it. Now the great thing about it is it starts over now. It starts at the beginning. Everyone’s at the same page. We’ll see who’s ready to get it done.”