Despite recording its best score this season, Indiana men’s golf finished in ninth out of 16 teams in its penultimate event of the fall season at the Quail Valley Invitational in Vero Beach, Florida.
The Hoosiers finished 14-under par with a total team score of 850 after 54 holes. The competitive field included six teams inside of the top 50 of the latest GolfWeek rankings, including eventual winners No. 9 University of Kansas.
“We didn’t play up to our standard,” head coach Mike Mayer said. “We’ll take that as a positive because to play mediocre and still finish in the middle of the pack in the field we’re playing against is a pretty good thing to do.”
After 18 holes of play, Indiana sat in tenth with a score of 5-under 283. Senior Mitch Davis and sophomore Clay Merchent each shot 2-under 70 to pace the Hoosiers in round one. Davis’ opening round consisted of a team-high six birdies, including four on the front nine to shoot a 4-under 32 after nine holes.
In the second round, Indiana found itself tied for ninth after recording a 3-under 285. Sophomore Drew Salyers turned in a bogey-free round of 5-under 67 with five birdies, including back-to-back birdies on the 15th and 16th holes.
In the final round Monday, the Hoosiers carded another solid round under par at 6-under 282 to finish alone in ninth. It’s the first time this season the Hoosiers have played all three rounds in an event under par. They have recorded a round under 70 in 11 of 15 rounds played this season.
Davis again led the Hoosiers with a 5-under 67, compiling 5 birdies and the team’s lone eagle of the event on the par-5 14th. He finished at 7-under for the tournament, tied for 12th overall, his eighth top 20 finish of his collegiate career. He also tied for second among Big Ten competitors in the event.
“The hardest working player maybe I’ve ever had in 32 years of coaching here, and that’s saying a lot,” Mayer said of Davis. “The young man is driven, passionate, he’s everything you want and an athlete who wants to perform at the highest level.”
Salyers struggled in his first round Sunday, shooting 2-over 74 with just three birdies in his round. After bouncing back with a 67 in the second round, the sophomore rounded out his event with a 72 to finish at 1-under for the tournament, tied for 28th. Salyers’ final round scorecard included three bogeys and three birdies.
“He came out this season gangbusters,” Mayer said. “He’s quite the talent. He really is.”
Indiana concludes the fall season with the Williams Cup on Oct. 25-26 at the Eagle Point Golf Club in Wilmington, North Carolina.
“It’s been a busy fall,” Mayer said. “Six tournaments is more than we usually play. But we really felt we had the team capable of handling six tournaments. It’s been a good fall season for us with a couple hiccups.”
Mayer said the team’s final event was a late addition to its schedule, but the opportunity was too good to pass up.
“We are expecting a difficult golf course, which fits our team well,” Mayer said. “We will be ready.”