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IU men's golf team places 11th at Big Ten Match Play Championship


Then-junior Jake Brown practices at the IU Golf Course in April 2017. The men's golf team competed in the Mission Inn Spring Spectacular on March 16 and 17 in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida. IDS file photo

The IU men’s golf team finished 11th at the Big Ten Match Play Championship at the Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast, Florida, this weekend.

The Hoosiers split on both days of the two-day tournament, going 2-2. 

While the event is one of the two conference tournaments the team will play in this season, it is ultimately a preview of the Big Ten teams and has little to do with national rankings and the postseason. 

IU Head Coach Mike Mayer said one of the goals of this tournament for his team was to have fun and learn what it can from its matches about conference opponents.

“We really enjoyed this tournament," Mayer said. "It’s one of the more fun tournaments we get to play in, it’s nice to play these teams head to head.”  

The Hoosiers fell into the consolation bracket early after a 3.5-2.5 loss to the No. 8 seed Michigan State on the Conservatory course. The junior duo of Brock Ochsenreiter and Evan Gaesser came away with outright wins, while senior Jake Brown split his round. 

The team rebounded in the afternoon with a win over Minnesota, who lost to Maryland in its first round. The Hoosiers transitioned over to the Ocean course for the afternoon and bested the Gophers with a score of 3.5-2.5. 

Freshman Mitch Davis subbed in for sophomore Evan Yakubov in the second matchup. Davis split his round, while fellow Reynolds and sophomore Ethan Shepherd defeated their opponents, both with a 4-2 stroke advantage. 

Brown also came away with a win, finishing the tournament undefeated with his absence from day two.

Brown had to skip the second day to keep his eligibility for playing in future stroke-play tournaments because of his participation in a separate tournament later in the week. 

Without Brown the team pulled out a 4-2 win over No. 5 seed Penn State team and a 2-4 loss to 13th seeded Rutgers to end its Big Ten Match Play Championship run. Gaesser and Reynolds were the only golfers to drop their match against the Nittany Lions. 

Gaesser rebounded in the afternoon with Shepherd as the only two to win their matches against Rutgers.  

“We opened kind of mediocre and closed kind of mediocre with two alright performances in between,” Mayer said.

The team will have the next month off from tournament play. Its next contest is March 16 at Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida for the Mission Inn Spring Spectacular. 

Jake Brown will also be competing for a shot at a PGA Tour amateur spot in the Genesis Open at the Genesis Collegiate Open on Monday. 

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