In its second event of the season, Indiana men’s golf finished sixth out of 15 teams in the Fighting Illini Invitational at the Olympia Fields Country Club in Chicago this past weekend.
Indiana found itself in a tie for second with the eventual winner No. 4 University of North Carolina after a 3-over 283 across the first 18 holes. Indiana was just two strokes behind the No. 2 ranked Oklahoma State University after the first round.
The Hoosiers carded an 8-over 288 on Saturday, and on Sunday recorded a team score of 5-over 285. Overall, they finished the three-day tournament with a score of 856, good for 16-over par.
Once again, leading the way for Indiana was the reigning Big Ten Golfer of the Week sophomore Drew Salyers. Salyers finished the tournament tied for fifth at 1-under par. After 18 holes, the winner of the Hoosier Collegiate Invitational was tied with North Carolina’s David Ford for the lead at 2-under par.
Salyers enjoyed a stretch of four birdies in six holes propelling him to the top of the leaderboard after the first round. On Saturday, the sophomore birdied four holes, but that wasn’t enough to keep him under par, as he shot a 2-over 72. Salyers fired a 1-under 69 on Sunday to finish with a 1-under 209 for the tournament, tied for fifth. Salyers has broken 70 in four out of six rounds so far this season.
Junior Noah Gillard finished second for Indiana and tied for 28th overall at 6-over 216. Gillard birdied three of his final four holes on Friday to close his opening round at 1-over 71. In the second round, the 6’8 transfer from the University of Illinois led the Hoosiers with an even round of 70, which placed him tied for ninth after 36 holes. Gillard closed out his tournament with a 5-over 75 on Sunday.
The remaining three Hoosiers — senior Mitch Davis, sophomore Clay Merchent and fifth-year senior Ethan Shepherd — all tied for 42nd overall after shooting 220, 10-over par.
Davis recorded a 2-over 72 on Friday followed by two rounds of 4-over 74. Merchent carded a 6-over 76 on Friday before shooting 2-over 72 on Saturday and Sunday. Shepherd shot a 1-under 34 on his first nine holes of the weekend en route to a 2-over round of 72 on Friday. After an 8-over 78 on Saturday, Shepherd finished with his best round of even par 70 on Sunday.
The Hoosiers have a quick turnaround before heading back to Illinois for the Windon Memorial Classic Sept. 27-28 at the Lake Shore Country Club in Glencoe, Illinois.