“It’s hard to tell this early in the season,” IU Golf Coach Mike Mayer said, “but that field will probably be one of the toughest, if not the toughest, field in college this season.”
Tying Baylor with a total of 880 strokes and finishing 40-over par, IU improved its stroke total from 920 in the Northern Intercollegiate Tournament and recorded its best total in the Illinois tournament since 2010.
Twelve of the 15 teams that competed in Olympia Fields ranked in the Golf Coaches Association Preseason Top 25.
IU tied No. 25 Baylor and defeated UNLV and Texas Tech. All three of these opposing teams also competed in last season’s NCAA National Championship Tournament.
“We were really trying to focus on a good start this weekend,” Mayer said. “After last weekend, I thought it was an okay start. It was definitely a step in the right direction. I’ll never be pleased with a 12th place finish, but I thought we competed well.”
In the first round, the Hoosiers shot a total of 296 strokes, second-worst in the field.
Sophomore Brendan Doyle had the top Hoosier finish with 31st overall and tied his career-best total with a 9-over par 219.
“He’s getting better and better,” Mayer said. “He’s had a little trouble finishing at the greens, but he did much better this weekend, I thought.”
In his first round, Doyle shot a 5-over par 75 but responded with a par 70 in the second round.
The sophomore finished the weekend with a 4-over par 74, posting seven pars, five bogeys and a birdie.
“I really thought his second round, when he shot 70, was a breakthrough round for him,” Mayer said.
Mayer also mentioned redshirt freshman Jake Brown as someone who stood out in the tournament.
The redshirt freshman shot a 13-over par 223, finishing 150th in the field and fourth on the team.
“Jake did not play well last year,” Mayer said about the freshman. “But he’s grown physically and mentally, and he’s our fighter. He fights, fights, fights. He played against a world-class field this weekend and played well. He’s not phased by the competition.”
Florida State finished first, totaling just 6-over par at 846 strokes, while Illinois, the host school, finished fifth at 18-over par.
Alabama University fought its way to sixth place overall with a score of 24-over par.
“We continue to get better after looking pretty stagnant last year,” Mayer said. “We just couldn’t get over that hump last year, but this year I see signs of us getting over that hump, and, if we do get over it, we could really be a contender for a Big Ten Championship.”