The IU men’s golf team might not have come out on top at the Fighting Illini Invitational this weekend, but at least they beat Purdue.
“Well, it’s always nice to beat Purdue,” IU Coach Mike Mayer said.
The Hoosiers finished 11th in the competition, shooting a combined 40 over-par. The team finished above Purdue, Baylor and Air Force, and fell below the nine top-25 ranked teams and a strong South Carolina team.
The team’s highest finisher was junior Brock Ochsenreiter, who finished in the top 25 with a six-over par score. This is Ochsenreiter’s fifth top-25 finish in his last six events and his ninth career top-25 finish.
This performance comes after a disappointing start to the season in Henryville, Indiana, where Ochsenreiter finished tied for 34th, the worst finish for the Hoosiers in team play. Mayer said it might’ve been the environment in Chicago this weekend that helped Orchsenreiter bounce back.
“Sometimes big time players need big time golf courses,” Mayer said.
Orchsenreiter wasn’t the only Hoosier had a good outing. Freshman Mitch Davis finished just outside the top-25 with an eight-over par score. In his second career collegiate competition and his first start for the team, he led the entire field in pars made.
“He’s earned his spot in the lineup, and he’s gonna stay in the lineup for a while,” Mayer said.
Sophomore Ethan Shepherd was the next best finish for the team, going 12-under par, earning him a spot at 48th. The Greenwood, Indiana, native made six birdies and might have finished higher with his fellow Indiana underclassmen if he hadn’t hit eight bogeys in his final round of play.
Senior Co-captains Jake Brown and Jack Sparrow finished as the bottom two for the Hoosiers. Brown finished tied for 49th, scoring 14-over par.
“It was a struggle out there for him,” Mayer said.
Sparrow had some lingering wrist issues from last season flair up over the three-day invite. He finished second to last, 74th, shooting 27-over par.
Injuries aside, Mayer said he expected more from his upperclassmen co-captains.
“They’re fifth year seniors, and we need more from both of them,” Mayer said.
The team will travel to Lake Forest, Illinois, next week for the Windon Memorial tournament hosted by Northwestern. Given Sparrow's wrist issues, expect the team to shake up its lineup for this competition.