Indiana men’s golf had a strong showing in its first event of the season, finishing third out of 15 teams in the Hoosier Collegiate Invitational over Labor Day weekend in Bloomington.
After 36 holes on Sunday and 18 on Monday, the Hoosiers finished with a combined team score of 860, 8-over par. This score was just two strokes back of the co-winners, the University of Cincinnati and Illinois.
“Team wise, we got off to a slow start in the first round,” Indiana head coach Mike Mayer said. “It is tough to make that up against the competition we face, but we fought really hard.”
Sophomore Drew Salyers led the way for IU, earning his first individual college title with a 5-under 208, two strokes ahead of the rest of the field. After the first round, Salyers was tied for the lead after a 3-under 68, but a 1-over 72 in the second 18 Sunday saw the sophomore slip to a tie for third alongside IU senior Mitch Davis.
Salyers proved his metal Monday, where he sunk four birdie putts and only registered one bogey en route to another 68. This was the first time a Hoosier won a match play tournament since Brendan Doyle tied for the win Oct. 9, 2017, at the Windon Memorial at Evanston Golf Club in Evanston, Illinois.
“Drew showed what he was capable of these last two days — he had an outstanding tournament and this was a great collegiate win,” Mayer said. “I think that we will see more of that in the future.”
Mitch Davis tied for third with a strong performance, carding a 2-under 211 — just three strokes back of Salyers. This was Davis’ best career finish and his fifth within the top 10. Davis shot 2-under 69 in the first round and followed up with two rounds at par. The senior was tied for third after all three rounds.
Indiana ended each round in third place as a team, posting scores of 291-283-286 over 56 holes. After a rough first 18 holes, the Hoosiers bounced back, carding a 1-under 283 in the second round.
Indiana held a slim 4-stroke lead over the University of Memphis Tigers heading into the final round, but after a strong 2-over score on Labor Day, the Hoosiers finished 15 strokes ahead of the fourth place team.
Junior Noah Gillard, sophomore Clay Merchent and senior Harry Reynolds also competed for IU in the team event. Gillard finished one stroke ahead of Reynolds at 8-over par. They finished tied for 18th and 24th, respectively. Merchant shot a 13-over 226 and finished tied for 40th.
As the invitational hosts, Indiana was able to play six individuals at The Pfau Course, but those individuals’ scores were separate from the team results. Fifth-year senior Ethan Shepherd shot a 1-under 212 to lead all individual players and finish tied for fifth overall. Freshman Ethan Chelf finished with a 9-over 222 and fifth-year senior Evan Yakubov finished right behind Chelf at 10-over.
Rounding out the Hoosier individual rounds were junior Eric Berggren, sophomore Robbie Bender III and junior Drew Giacchetto. Berggren shot a 19-over 232, Bender III carded a 245 and Giacchetto finished with a 249.
It was just the second tournament the team played at the Par 71 Pfau Golf Course, and the first time since 2018 the Hooisers opened their season as hosts.
"The Pfau Course — what an amazing venue to host a collegiate event,” Mayer said. “I thank the Pfau family and all the donors who made this beautiful course possible.”
Next up for Indiana is the Fighting Illini Invitational played Sept. 17-19 at the Olympia Fields Country Club in Chicago.