Every pair of eyes in the lounge at the Cecil W. Weathers Golf Team Center in Bloomington was glued to a television screen on the wall. The exception was the ones belonging to IU men’s golf head coach Mike Mayer, who turned to face his team.
“As I’ve said from day one, gentlemen, this has been a complete team effort,” Mayer said. “All eleven of you guys have played a huge role in what’s gonna happen here in a few minutes.”
Sounds of clapping and hollering rang through the clubhouse as every set of eyes found what they’d been looking for on the television — IU’s trident logo was shown next to the No. 8 seed in the Tallahassee Regional.
IU will compete at the Tallahassee Regional from Monday to Wednesday at the Seminole Legacy Golf Club Tallahassee, Florida. One round will be played each day, and competition will begin at 8:30 a.m. Monday off of split tees, the Hoosiers will begin at 9:25 a.m. on tee No. 1.
The top five teams from each regional, along with the lowest scoring individual outside of the top five teams, will advance to the NCAA Championships being played from May 28 to June 2 at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona.
This is IU’s first postseason appearance since its 13th place finish in Fayetteville, Arkansas, at the Fayetteville Regional in 2013.
“It’s always great to make postseason play. It’s been a while, and we are thrilled to be going to Florida,” Mayer said in a video posted to the team’s Twitter account May 6.
IU’s lineup will be freshman Clay Merchent, senior Ethan Shepherd, junior Mitch Davis, freshman Drew Salyers and graduate student Brock Ochsenreiter.
Merchent and Shepherd were named First and Second Team All-Big Ten, respectively, while Merchent was also named Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Ochsenreiter, who will join the lineup for the first time this season, won Big Ten co-Golfer of the Week after winning the Boilermaker Individual on April 11.
“A solid, solid spring for that young man,” Mayer said about Merchent. “He’s made a huge impact on this program.”
The competing teams, along with IU, will be Florida State University, the University of Georgia, Liberty University, Louisiana State University, Georgia Tech University, Georgia Southern University, Texas Christian University, the University of Kansas, the University of Southern California, Ohio State, Davidson College, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and Long Island University.
IU is familiar with Ohio State, having defeated the Buckeyes during the first round of Big Ten Match Play to open the season Feb. 5 before finishing one spot behind them by a single stroke at the Big Ten Championship on May 2.