Indiana Daily Student

Indiana men’s golf finishes 6th at Kepler Intercollegiate to wrap up regular season

<p>Senior Ethan Shepherd follows through with his swing after hitting the ball during the Hoosier Collegiate Invitational on April 4, 2021, at the Pfau Course. After a sixth-place finish at the Kepler Intercollegiate, Indiana will compete in the Big Ten Championships from April 29 to May 1.</p>

Senior Ethan Shepherd follows through with his swing after hitting the ball during the Hoosier Collegiate Invitational on April 4, 2021, at the Pfau Course. After a sixth-place finish at the Kepler Intercollegiate, Indiana will compete in the Big Ten Championships from April 29 to May 1.

In the 50th edition of the Kepler Intercollegiate, Indiana men’s golf finished in sixth place with a total team score of 859, 5-under par. The Hoosiers shot 3-under 285 and 4-under 284 on Saturday, followed by a final round of 2-over 290 on Sunday.

The performance marked the third time this season Indiana finished under par as a team. The other two events where the Hoosiers broke par overall were the Quail Valley Collegiate Invitational and the Colleton River Collegiate, which were both held at Michigan State University.

Sophomore Clay Merchent finished at the top of the leaderboard out of all Indiana golfers, and tied for sixth overall individually. His total score of 211 and to-par score of 5-under are both his second-best numbers of his Indiana career. He only performed better in his debut tournament with the Hoosiers, when he carded a score of 209 (-7) at the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate back in February 2021.

Merchent led Indiana after all three rounds, and carded rounds of 69 and 72 to finish Saturday 3-under par and tied for 12th. His play helped make the Hoosiers one of just six competing teams to break par in both rounds played Saturday, as the team posted a total of 39 birdies. Merchent recorded six birdies in round one and Indiana’s lone eagle in round two.

Related: [Indiana women’s golf finishes 13th in Big Ten Championships]

Despite Merchent’s score of even-par 72 in the second round, another Hoosier topped his effort. Fifth-year senior Ethan Shepherd posted a 3-under 69, highlighted by a team-high six birdies. Shepherd and Merchent were two of four Indiana golfers in the top-30 after the first day of play. Sophomore Drew Salyers and senior Mitch Davis stood in ties for 19th and 22nd, respectively. Salyers was 1-under par after 36 holes, while Davis was at even-par.

Three birdies and one bogey in the final round led to a score of 70 for Merchent, who wrapped up the event with his best performance of the season. Overall, the sophomore finished with one eagle, nine birdies and six bogeys over the 54-hole tournament. It’s the fifth time Merchent has finished in the top 10 at a tournament in his Indiana career, and the first time since the Boilermaker Invitational in April 2021, when he finished fourth.

Indiana will have a quick turnaround before playing at the Big Ten Championships next weekend at The Dye Course at French Lick in French Lick, Indiana.

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