Two weeks ago, the IU men’s golf team played at the Crooked Stick Invitational, and the results were less than ideal for the Hoosiers, IU Coach Mike Mayer said. The team finished ninth out of 12 teams, and as a whole didn’t play up to the level they had hoped for.
But the Hoosiers have a chance to turn the page at the Quail Valley Collegiate in Vero Beach, Florida on Monday and Tuesday.
“We’re always excited to get to another tournament,” junior Keegan Vea said. “We had this last week off, and we’re ready to get back at it.”
The team has just two tournaments remaining in the fall season — Quail Valley and the Ka’anapali Collegiate Classic in Maui, Hawaii.
“Quail Valley is supposed to be a wonderful golf course,” Mayer said. “It’s a little different going down to play warm-season golf, with Bermuda grass and Bermuda grass greens, so we’ll have to make that adjustment pretty quick when we get down there.”
At Crooked Stick, IU seemed to be making more mistakes than it did in its first three tournaments. Especially after their encouraging performance at the Windon Memorial, Crooked Stick felt like a step back for the Hoosiers.
“Especially after what happened at Crooked Stick, we all got a good point of view of what we needed to work on,” Vea said. “I think if we all can just shave off a couple shots for each round, it’s going to be huge.”
For IU, Quail Valley presents an opportunity to put Crooked Stick behind them in multiple ways. Aside from the warmer weather, the Hoosiers will face many teams they haven’t seen before.
“It’s a different field for us with a lot of different teams — North Carolina State, Mississippi State, some others that we haven’t seen — so that’s a little bit of an unknown,” said Mayer. “We’re looking forward to going to Vero Beach and seeing if we can beat some of those southern teams.”
Despite the lackluster result in their previous tournament, Coach Mayer praised his team’s work ethic in practice this week.
“The kids are working hard, really hard,” Mayer said. “Crooked Stick was a bit of a letdown for us, coming off what we thought was a great final round performance at the Windon in Chicago. Perhaps our expectations got in our way a little bit at Crooked Stick. But the kids haven’t faltered. They continue to work and continue to work hard.”
At Quail Valley, sophomore Brendon Doyle will be the No. 1 man for the Hoosiers. Coach Mayer echoed praise of Doyle’s work in practice.
“His golf swing is getting better, we’ve made some changes, he’s made some changes,” Mayer said. “Brendon is capable of being that No. 1 man, and we’re really really looking forward to what he can do down there.”
Freshman Jake Brown will be in the 2-spot, followed by Vea, junior Andrew Havill and senior Max Kollin.
Especially given what happened at Crooked Stick, a good showing from IU at Quail Valley would do a lot for the team’s confidence, Vea said.
“We’ve got two tournaments left in the fall, so we’re ready to finish strong and really work hard at it,” Vea said.