For the IU men’s golf team, progress was the theme of last weekend’s Windon Memorial tournament in Illinois.
As a team, the Hoosiers finished seventh out of 14 teams. The team’s score of 280 in Monday’s final round is the team’s best since April 6, 2013, when the team posted a 279 at the NYX Hoosier Invitational at the IU Golf Course.
IU Coach Mike Mayer said he was happy with the progress the team made at the tournament.
“I think we’re developing, we’re learning a little more about each other and ourselves, and we’re playing better," Mayer said. "We’ve got a little more confidence, a little more belief in ourselves. We started with a couple major tournaments at Rich Harvest Farms and Olympia Fields, US Open-style golf courses, and that’s either going to make you better or put you down. And I really think it made us better.”
Freshman Jake Brown, who tied for 17th over the weekend, echoed Coach Mayer’s sentiment.
“I think today was a really good stepping stone for the rest of the fall,” Brown said.
Brown’s final round was his best, as he carded a 66. That score is the lowest round by an IU golfer since David Mills posted a 66 in his second round of the Hoosier Invitational in 2013. It’s also the lowest round by an IU freshman since March 22, 2009, when David Erdy posted a 65 at the Collegiate Match Play Qualifier in California.
“It was good momentum for myself going into the rest of the year,” Brown said. “I think it builds a lot of momentum going into Crooked Stick.”
Brown said he made adjustments throughout the weekend to correct some speed putting and his short game, and it paid off in his final round.
“I was hitting a lot of greens today and got a couple of putts to go, which felt good,” Brown said.
Mayer attributed the team’s progress to its depth and how many capable players it has. He credited junior Keegan Vea for a strong showing, and said sophomore Brendon Doyle played well in his last round Monday.
“We know that they’re all capable,” Coach said. “We’ve got some work to do, some stuff to work on. But we’re going to keep getting better and better and better.”
In practices last week, Mayer said he placed an added emphasis on par fives, saying his team needed to perform better on those holes. Mayer said emphasis paid off in the tournament.
“We played the par fives much, much better,” Mayer said. “With more confidence, we were able to get the ball in position to make birdies on par 5s, and that was one of the keys to this golf course. So that work really paid off.”
The team’s next tournament is the Crooked Stick Invitational in Carmel, Indiana.