IU Men's Golf Primed for 2011 Spring Season
Jan. 30, 2011
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Indiana men's golf team heads into the spring season with a mix of lofty aspirations and high confidence after a fall campaign that included a pair of top-five finishes and ended with two straight tournament titles. Head Coach Mike Mayer and the Hoosiers (No. 25 Golfweek-Sagarin/No. 33 Golfstat) hope their progress and effort in the fall will translate into big things during the coming months.
"It's a special group of kids in a lot of ways," said Mayer. "I think we have a lot of talent, but we have people who work hard and people who really deserve to win. Every good thing that happens to this team is based on the work that they've done and these kids have worked really, really hard in the fall."
The Cream and Crimson will look for leadership from juniors David Erdy and Chase Wright, a tandem that have been mainstays in the Hoosier lineup during their careers. Erdy, a Boonville, Ind. native, is currently third on the Indiana career stroke average list with a 73.40. Wright is fifth on that list with a 73.54 career average.
"I've never had two better leaders on this team and I've had some pretty good leaders," said Mayer. "Ability-wise they're pretty special as well. I'm looking for one of these two guys to really breakout this spring. That would really change the dynamics of this team."
Sophomore Brant Peaper and freshman David Mills had impressive fall campaigns, competing in all five events for the Hoosiers, including top-five finishes for both at the Kiawah Island Intercollegiate.
Including Kiawah, Peaper had a trio of top-10 finishes during the fall and looks to be a consistent threat in the Hoosier lineup.
"I can't see Brant not being in the lineup," stated Mayer. "I think this young man has improved dramatically since he got here and I think there's still a lot left on the plate."
Mills, an Evansville, Ind. native, entered the program in the fall as a highly-ranked recruit and has lived up to the billing. The newcomer is currently on pace, with an average of 72.93, to have the second lowest freshman season scoring average in school history.
"He's a true freshman that is simply a tough, young son-of-a-gun," said Mayer. "This kid is not afraid to get the golf ball in the hole. He's not afraid to score and as we change him a little bit fundamentally and change his swing a little bit, he could be really special."
Three players that also saw time in the Hoosier lineup during the fall were sophomores Corey Ziedonis and Kyle Perry, as well as freshman Hugo Menendez. That trio, among others, will likely be in a tight battle for the fifth spot this spring.
"That's a situation that a coach really likes, when three competitive guys are really going at it for a spot and at this point that's what it looks like might happen," said Mayer.
Ziedonis played in nine rounds during the fall, registering a top-25 finish at the Wolf Run Intercollegiate while competing as an individual.
"Corey Ziedonis has worked hard and I think he's gotten better and better," Mayer said. "There's no question that he's going to get opportunities right off the bat to get in that lineup."
Perry, a Bloomington, Ind. native, first cracked the rotation heading into the Firestone Invitational, where he posted a final round 71 to help the Hoosiers win the event.
"Kyle Perry is a solid, solid golfer," said Mayer. "He is unflappable both on and off the golf course. We need to make a couple of changes with him to enable him to get over the hump a little bit."
Menendez, a redshirt-freshman from Gijon, Spain, came into the Indiana program last spring, has gotten acclimated, and appears ready for a solid spring after ending the fall with an 11th place finish at Kiawah.
"Hugo has worked hard and we've really worked with him," said Mayer. "We've made some changes with him, both mentally in how he approaches the game and with his golf swing. I think it's really helped him get to the position where he can play."
"Ben Bellville has kind of been that journeyman player that's always on the edge of making the lineup," said Mayer. "He's been a great young man and we need him to continue to push and push and push and who knows, he could manage to find himself in the lineup."
Han is no stranger to tournament action at Indiana, participating in 36 career tournament rounds as a Hoosier, including three this past fall.
"Ren Han probably needs to be in the lineup, probably should be in the lineup," said Mayer. "He's such a talented individual player, but we have to help him, even in his last semester, get more acclimated to playing team golf, which I think has been a little difficult for him."
Beringer and McGee had a bit of an up-and-down freshman season, but both are players that could work their way into the fold as the season progresses.
"John continues to knock on the door and he's a player who I would not be surprised this spring if he made that leap to the lineup and the same with Michael McGee, who played a lot as a freshman," said Mayer. "I think Michael's as talented as anybody that we've got on this team. There are some things as far as how he approaches the game that we need to continue to work on and I think if we can do that, there's no question he has the ability to shoot the scores."
The Hoosiers will start the spring campaign on Feb. 5 at the Big Red Shootout against Ball State. The 36-hole match play competition will be held in Naples, Fla. at Grey Oaks Country Club.
Indiana will follow that up with the Big Ten Match Play Championship in Palm Beach, Fla. at the beautiful PGA National-Champions Course on Feb. 11-12. The event will be held two weeks prior to the Honda Classic at the same course.
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