IU men’s golf is set to compete at the Big Ten Championship from Friday to Sunday at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Indiana. IU has won the Big Ten Championship eight times, with the last victory being in 1998.
Crooked Stick Golf Club has a par 72 course designed by Pete Dye which was fully completed in 1967. The course includes strip bunkers, railroad ties, pot bunkers and blind shots.
The team is familiar with the course, head coach Mike Mayer said after the Robert Kepler Intercollegiate last Sunday. IU finished in eighth place at the Crooked Stick Invitational in 2019.
“We expect a championship venue there,” Mayer said.
The tournament will consist of IU competing against the 13 other teams in the Big Ten Conference, and it will have one round each day with the first round beginning Friday at 9 a.m.
Three competing teams are ranked in the top 50 in the Golfstat team rankings posted Wednesday. IU stands at No. 46, Iowa is No.40 and Illinois is No. 10.
The Hoosiers defeated the Hawkeyes in the final round of the Big Ten Match Play Championship on Feb. 6, thanks to a last second shot from junior Mitch Davis.
The Illini have won four of the seven tournaments they’ve played in this season, and the team competed against IU in the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate from Feb. 14-16, The Boilermaker Invitational from April 10-11 and at the Robert Kepler Intercollegiate.
The Hoosiers’ lineup, in order, will be freshman Clay Merchent, Davis, senior Ethan Shepherd, freshman Drew Salyers and junior Harry Reynolds.
Shepherd notably recorded a hole-in-one during the 2019 Big Ten Championship on April 28, 2019 at the Wissahickon Course of the Philadelphia Cricket Club in Philadelphia.
The team feels good going into the event, Mayer said, and he believes the tournament could come down to a team winning by making the least mistakes.
“I don’t think anybody’s gonna run away with it,” Mayer said. “I think it's gonna be bunched up, tight, it’s gonna come down to a few strokes here and there.”