While professional golfers are preparing for the Masters in 70-degree weather, IU is preparing in near-freezing conditions.
The Hoosiers will head to the Irish Creek Intercollegiate in Kannapolis, North Carolina, following a two-week break from competitive play.
Despite the less-than-ideal conditions IU has prepared in, Coach Mike Mayer does not see it as a setback.
“It can make you better,” Mayer said. “It’s a game you have to play in all conditions. We wish it was 60 or 70 degrees and sunny, but it’s not, so we do what we can do and try to make it a positive.”
IU will be heading into its fourth tournament of the spring season.
The Hoosiers placed seventh at the Bighorn Invitational two weeks ago and will look to take momentum from a strong final round into Kannapolis.
“We need more of those kinds of rounds,” Mayer said. “It’s been our M.O. to have one really good round every tournament, and we need a little more than that.”
The leader for IU at the Bighorn Invitational was sophomore Brock Ochsenreiter, who tied for second.
That was the best collegiate finish in Ochsenreiter’s career, who Mayer said has great potential that needs to show itself more often.
“Brock is a young man with as much ability as anybody that I’ve seen in a long time at Indiana University,” Mayer said. “He was in control of himself, and he still has that attitude right now that he’s ready to go play and play well.”
With an average round score of just more than 72, junior Jake Brown has been the No. 1 slotted golfer for IU.
Brown was not able to play up to that ranking at Bighorn as he finished in a tie at 31st. However, he had a final round score of 68 to give himself momentum heading into Irish Creek as well.
“I found a couple things in the final round that was hindering me in my first two rounds,” Brown said. “I’m excited to implement those things going forward.”
The Irish Creek will be the second-to-last tournament for IU before heading to Baltimore for the Big Ten Championships.
For Brown, this will most likely be his third straight time representing the team at the Big Ten Tournament, and he said he hopes his experiences this year will help him in competition.
“I have a lot more confidence in the way I’ve played this year,” Brown said. “Every year at college I’ve had one or two pretty solid events, but this year I feel like there’s been a lot of tournaments where I’ve really had a chance to win or get top five.”
Brown and Ochsenreiter will be joined by senior Brendon Doyle in the top three slots for IU this weekend.
The final two spots for the team have rotated throughout the season, but this time around Mayer will send out sophomore Evan Gaesser and junior Jack Sparrow.
“It’s that time of year for us to pinpoint our top five,” Mayer said. “We’ll figure out the best five players who can represent us at the Big Ten Championships.”
Frehsmen Ethan Shepherd and Evan Yakubov are also in consideration for the final two spots.
The Irish Creek Intercollegiate will begin with two rounds Saturday, followed by the final round of play Sunday.