Heading into the final round of play at the Mission Inn Spring Spectacular in Florida, IU men’s golf had an opportunity to match its best finish of the season.
The Hoosiers were tied for third. However, their best result of the season was a lone third place finish at the Windon Memorial in October.
A reoccurring issue for IU this season has been playing strong in one or two rounds, but struggling in the other. That would not be the case this time around.
IU shot a 294 in the final round to propel itself to a sole third place finish, matching its best of the season.
“We handled the golf course very well,” IU Coach Mike Mayer said. “Overall, I have to be pleased, but we still left a lot out there.”
The final round for IU was highlighted by the play of senior Brendon Doyle, who shot a three-under, 69.
Doyle finished in a tie-for-seventh, marking his second top-10 finish of the season.
“It was good to finish up well. It definitely gave me momentum going into next week,” senior Brendon Doyle said. “We just need to keep preparing like we have been, and if we’re able to do that, we can play really well.”
The Mission Inn was the first tournament for IU since Big Ten Match Play a month ago. Freshman Ethan Shepherd had one top-20 finish heading into match play, where he won all four matches.
Shepherd followed that up with his second top-20 finish by finishing tied-for-13th at the Mission Inn.
“He’s maturing, he’s growing, and he’s learning how to handle intercollegiate athletes at this level,” Mayer said. “In the fall, he got a little overwhelmed with everything. This is not easy. He’s having a little bit more fun doing it.”
Now the Hoosiers will head to Palm Desert, California, to host the Bighorn Collegiate.
The 12-team field includes eight teams ranked inside the top-100.
IU comes in moving up in the rankings and falls at No. 104. With another strong tournament the Hoosiers could crack the top-100.
“When this team’s good, we’re as good as any team in the country,” Mayer said. “We have to be a better team when we’re not playing well. We have to be a little tougher and fight a little harder to save those shots.”
The desert style course means that if the ball is played too far off the fairways, a play could find himself hitting from cacti and dry grass.
This will be Doyle’s first time playing on this style course in California, but he said the team has prepared well and has studied the course throughout the week.
The highest ranked opponent for IU is No. 15 Illinois, whom the Hoosiers defeated in the final round of match play.
“It was a great win, to knock them off just showed what these kids are capable of doing,” Mayer said. “We contended at the Windon in the fall, and we wanted to get in that situation again.”