After a nine-month grind, the Indiana men’s golf 2021-22 season has come to a close.
Indiana competed in six events in the fall and eight events in the spring. The Hoosiers had a three month break between the fall and spring seasons, but worked indoors during the winter.
“It was a good season overall,” head coach Mike Mayer said. “We were up and down in the fall, playing extremely well at times.”
Indiana began its rollercoaster season with two of its better results. The first event was hosted by IU, who finished third at the Hoosier Collegiate in Bloomington over Labor Day Weekend. Sophomore Drew Salyers won his first career individual title at the event and was rewarded with his first Big Ten Golfer of the Week award a couple days later.
One of Indiana’s best finishes of the year came at the Fighting Illini Invitational in mid-September, where they placed sixth ahead of six top-25 teams, including reigning national champions Pepperdine University. After a subpar performance at the Windon Memorial Classic in late September, Indiana won its first stroke play tournament since April 2014 at the Purdue Fall Invitational in October.
“It’s hard to beat 13-14 other teams at the same time,” Mayer said. “Winning in West Lafayette is extremely gratifying for any Indiana team.”
Mayer said the team started off the spring season on a high note by winning the Big Ten Match Play Championship for the second year in a row in February. However, to Mayer, the team’s first outing of 2022 was by far the highlight of the spring slate, and his high expectations throughout the remainder of the season left him disappointed.
Indiana’s best result after the Big Ten Match Play Championship was a sixth place finish at the Kepler Intercollegiate, the final regular season event of the year in late April. In the postseason, the Hoosiers finished ninth at the Big Ten Championships and twelfth in the NCAA Regionals just last week.
“It’s always great to make it to the postseason, not easy to do,” Mayer said.
Looking forward, he wants to win the Big Ten Championship and make the NCAA Finals for a second time before his coaching career comes to a close. Given that Mayer has just completed his 24th season as Indiana head coach, many assume that his time as head coach is dwindling
Mayer said that the season was filled with injuries. Junior Eric Berggren was out due to a wrist injury, junior Noah Gillard was unable to play because of his elbow and sophomore Clay Merchent hurt his back ahead of the NCAA Regional.
Indiana will say goodbye to two fifth-year seniors, Ethan Shepherd and Evan Yakubov. Both came back for another year to finish their graduate degrees at the Kelley School of Business.
“It’s not easy to be a grad student in Kelley and to be a Division I Golfer at this level,” Mayer said. “They both had to make tremendous sacrifices, and it could have been easy for them not to come a fifth year.”
Looking ahead to the 2022-23 season, plenty of talent will return to the Hoosiers’ lineup. Salyers, Merchent, Gillard, and Mitch Davis are four of the big names returning next season for the Hoosiers. Still, Mayer has a couple big goals heading into the summer.
“We are going to get everyone healthy,” Mayer said. “That’s goal number one.”
Mayer also said that he has already hopped on the transfer portal and will be on the road recruiting, looking to add depth to the roster. He will also need to find another assistant coach, as current assistant Corey Ziedonis will be leaving the program.