For the second-straight stroke play event of the spring season, the No. 41 Indiana men’s golf team finished in seventh place at the Colleton River Collegiate in sunny South Carolina.
The Hoosiers collectively shot 8-under par following the two-day, 54-hole event. The team was tied for seventh after 36 holes on Monday, and retained the position on Tuesday courtesy of a final round score of 13-under 275.
Sophomore Drew Salyers played up to the standard of his No. 1 position selection for Indiana, tying for fourth overall at 10-under par. Salyers posted rounds of 66 and 65 in the second and third rounds, respectively, to finish in the top-5, just four strokes behind those at the top. The performance marks the eighth time Salyers has broken below 70 this season, and the sophomore was just one of four players in the entire field to shoot in the 60’s in back-to-back rounds.
Salyers’ final round score of 65 is the first that low by a Hoosier since former Indiana golfer Brock Ochsenreiter’s performance at the 2018 Steelwood Collegiate Invitational.
On day one, Indiana shot rounds of 295 and 286 to finish 5-over par going into Tuesday. Junior Noah Gillard was the lone Hoosier to score par or better in the first two rounds, carding scores of 72 and a 71 to finish 1-under par on Monday. Gillard stayed consistent and recorded five birdies, including two on the seventh hole in as many rounds.
“You cannot afford at this level to have a bad round and win one of these golf tournaments,” Indiana head coach Mike Mayer said.
The final round marked Indiana’s lowest mark since shooting a 271 at the 2016 Loyola Intercollegiate. All five Hoosiers in the starting lineup managed to shoot par or better, posting 24 birdies combined. Senior Mitch Davis and sophomore Clay Merchent each had six birdies to pace Indiana.
Mayer emphasized the importance of finishing strong because he said the Hoosiers’ rough first round overshadowed the following two.
“It’s always great to take positives from this sport, and we can do that,” Mayer said. “A really nice round that shows us what we are capable of doing.”
Meanwhile, Salyers recorded a bogey-free round of 65 in Tuesday’s final round, tied for the lowest round of any player in the field. The sophomore used an eagle and five birdies en route to the best individual round of the season for the Hoosiers. He finished the tournament at 10-under par after shooting a 206.
“(Drew) is our one man, and he proves it time and time again,” Mayer said. “He is fearless on the golf course. I can’t be any more fond of that young man as an athlete.”
Gillard was the only other Hoosier to finish under par after another round of 71 to put him in the top-20 for the fourth tournament this season.
The tough competition at the Colleton River Collegiate meant the Hoosiers faced multiple teams inside of the GolfWeek top-40 rankings for the second-straight tournament, but the Hoosiers have still finished strong in both events.
“I still like where we are, and the potential this team has,” Mayer said.
Indiana will have the rest of March off before it competes in the Boilermaker Invitational from April 9-10 in West Lafayette, Indiana.