Are they the best team IU Coach Mike Mayer has ever had? No, probably not. But nevertheless, they are one of the most fun.
IU has its first competition at its home course this weekend, and in all seriousness, the expectations have never been higher.
Mayer and the team will play host to the Hoosier Invitational this weekend, beginning with the first round of golf Saturday, finishing Sunday.
There will be 14 teams in attendance in addition to IU: Bradley, University of Detroit, Drake, Eastern Kentucky, Evansville, George Washington, Illinois State, IPFW, IUPUI, Oakland University, Ohio University, Western Illinois and Youngstown State.
His team is at an advantage though, Mayer said. They know this course better than anyone. After traveling to play in warmer weather, IU gets a chance to showcase its talents in a familiar environment.
“It’s great to be at home for a lot of reasons,” Mayer said. “Being comfortable is a big thing in our sport. It gives you the opportunity to play up to your potential. We are expected to win this golf tournament because we play it more than anything else, and I get that.”
The Hoosiers came into their spring schedule playing fairly well, and they’ve continued to do so. After using spring break as a training week, everyone on the team had their chance to shine and shoot qualifying scores.
But IU’s top-five remains the same. Redshirt freshman Jake Brown, sophomore Brendon Doyle, junior Keegan Vea, junior Andrew Havill and senior Max Kollin will round out IU’s A team.
The rest of the team, sophomore Christian Fairbanks, redshirt freshman Jack Sparrow, junior Will Seger, freshman Trevor Ranton and sophomore Matthew Weber will compete as individuals, in order to coincide with NCAA rules.
Truthfully, Mayer doesn’t care who has the top spot on his team. His top-two of Brown and Doyle have established themselves at the top of the pack, but fluctuations in the line up are always bound to happen. So far though, he is more than pleased with the results and improvements of everyone, he said.
“Jake and Brendon play very, very well on this golf course,” Mayer said. “I would expect them to continue this level of play. Hopefully Keegan, Andrew and Max can also play this well and if that happens, anybody’s capable of beating anybody. But ultimately our one-two punch, no question, is Jake and Brendon.”
After having a slower start to competition after the winter season, IU is ready to get into the full force of its schedule and continue progressing. From here on out, it only gets tougher, Mayer said.
“Before, we had to dangle the carrot a little bit to give these guys something they can achieve and aspire to do,” Mayer said. “Now we’ve got four in a row and the competition gets tougher, while the courses get better.”
The main focus for the team overall for this weekend is to make appropriate adjustments and adapt to the situations, with one factor being the wind and the weather.
An anticipation of high winds will be a good challenge for the Hoosiers though, Mayer said. It is something they need to become accustomed to doing, even when they’re at home.
“Things will be constantly changing out there from minute to minute,” Mayer said. “To be able to handle situations as they arise will be something they will have to transition to, but I always tell them, boys nothing has changed about the game. We’re still out here to play golf.”
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