In its final event of the fall season, Indiana men’s golf finished eighth out of 10 teams at The Williams Cup, named in honor of former University of North Carolina men’s basketball coach Roy Williams, and his wife, Wanda. The event was played at the Eagle Point Golf Club in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Indiana finished at 20-over par after the three-round, two-day event with a total team score of 884. Seven of the 10 teams were ranked inside of the top 50 of the latest GolfWeek rankings, headlined by No. 6 University of North Carolina, who went on to win the tournament by nine shots.
“A disappointing performance from us in a way,” head coach Mike Mayer said. “I was hoping for more.”
Mayer pointed out the strength of the competition was very difficult but used the word mediocre more than once to describe the team’s performance.
“But we’re pleased with the fall, we really are,” Mayer said. “We had a solid fall, we beat some great teams. We know we’ve got work to do, but we’re unafraid to do that work. I really look at this team as being a top-20 team before the end of the season.”
Indiana entered the event ranked No. 36 and didn’t slide after.
Indiana struggled in the first round, finishing 11-over and in ninth with a team score of 299. Fifth-year senior Ethan Shepherd was the lone bright spot, finishing with a 1-under score of 71. Shepherd recorded five birdies on his scorecard, including three straight from holes 11-13.
The Hoosiers played their best round of the tournament in the second round Oct. 25, finishing 2-over as a team to end the day at 13-over par. Sophomore Drew Salyers and senior Mitch Davis both recorded rounds of 2-under 70 to lead Indiana, who sat alone in eighth after one day of play. Davis birdied three holes during his round. Salyers recorded four birdies, three of them coming on holes 16-18 to find himself in a tie for 50th overall after 36 holes.
Mayer expected the conditions to be tough coming in and said afterward the conditions in the first round were really tough, but the wind died down in the afternoon, making the second round more doable.
“When the conditions give us that opportunity, we need to shoot better numbers,” Mayer said.
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In the final round of its fall season, Indiana shot 7-over to finish in eighth. Salyers once again led the Hoosiers, this time with a score of 71. Salyers birdied two holes and bogeyed just one to finish in a tie for 36th place.
Junior Noah Gillard was the top Hoosier on the way to 2-over par and 5-over on the tournament, tied for 26th.
“He’s really been a shot in the arm for us,” Mayer said. “His consistency top to bottom has really helped this team. It takes pressure off the other players, it frees them up. He had a spectacular fall for us.”
With this event concluding the fall season, the Hoosiers will be off until February, when they will defend their Big Ten Match Play Championship title at the Ocean Golf Course in Hammock Beach, Florida.
“I like where we are going into the spring,” Mayer said. “We know what’s ahead of us. We know what we have to do.”