Hoosiers Head to St. Croix Collegiate Classic
Bloomington, Ind. - Looking to regain its form from the most successful fall season in the program's history, the Indiana men's golf team returns to action at the St. Croix Collegiate Classic. The event will be held on Friday-Sunday, March 5-7 at the Carambola Golf Club in St. Croix, Virgin Islands.
IU opened its spring campaign with a 10th-place finish at the UCF/Rio Pinar Intercollegiate on Feb. 16-17, snapping its string of three consecutive victories. The Hoosiers shot 904 (297-304-303) at the 54-hole event hosted by Central Florida and the Rio Pinar Country Club.
In addition, junior Jeff Overton had his streak of four victories in four events broken. Golfweek's number two golfer in the nation finished with 218 (70-73-75). The Evansville, Ind., native was the Hoosiers' highest finisher, tying for 12th place.
Carambola is setup as a par 72 with a yardage of 6,809 yards.
The event consists of three rounds, 18 holes played on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. In addition to the Hoosiers, 13 other teams will participate in the tournament. Joining IU will be Big Ten rivals Ohio State and Penn State along with Air Force, Akron, Ball State, Eastern Michigan, Fresno State, Marshall, North Carolina-Wilmington, Oral Roberts, Rhode Island, Southeastern Louisiana and Xavier.
Tournament play begins Friday starting at 7:00 a.m. Saturday's tee times will also begin at 7:00 a.m. The final round on Sunday will be a shotgun start at 7:00 a.m.
Scoring for the event will be five players, with the low four scores from each team for each round determining a team's score.
The Hoosiers will send senior Ryan Cassidy, juniors Jeff Overton, Heath Peters and Mike Birkenfeld, and sophomore Scott Seibert to the St. Croix Collegiate Classic. Additionally, freshman David Butwell will participate in the event as an individual.
Cassidy and the three juniors have participated in all 14 Hoosier rounds this season, while Butwell has played in 12 rounds with Seibert seeing action in three rounds this fall.
Complete tournament results will be made available on the web at IUHOOSIERS.com nightly and following the event. For more information, contact Jeff Keag at 812-855-6209 or through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
QUOTING HEAD COACH Mike Mayer
"This will be a wonderful trip for our team. We've worked extremely hard this season and our student-athletes deserve a special trip like this. I'm sure it is a trip that they will remember for the rest of their lives.
"We've worked extremely hard since the UCF/Rio Pinar Intercollegiate, and I think we will see dividends from our hard work. We went into that first tournament with no outside practice at all, but it's a different story now. The weather has cooperated nicely, and we've been outside every possible opportunity. St Croix is a better field than Rio Pinar, and we will have to play very well to be competitive. I don't know if we are ready yet to win this tournament but, if we play up to our potential, I think we could be in the hunt before it is over.
"Some people might think that Jeff Overton had a bad tournament in our last outing, but I don't think so. He had a very good tournament finishing 12th in a strong field. It just goes to show you how very, very difficult it is to win a collegiate event...let alone four collegiate events like he did last fall. Jeff has worked extremely hard the last week and a half to prepare for this event. Is he ready to win again? That's hard to say...it's going to be a strong field, but Jeff will make his presence known.
"We need Heath Peters in a big way in order to have a chance to win this tournament. Heath is swinging the club very well right now and has shot some good numbers in qualifiers. We need him to take that confidence with him on this trip and if he does that, it will really help this team.
"Mike Birkenfeld did not have a particularly good tournament at Rio Pinar. It's been a little bit of a struggle for him to regain his form from last fall. He's not quite where he needs to be, but he's getting closer. He needs to muster all the mental strength he can for this event.
"Ryan Cassidy has worked harder than anyone on this team the last couple of weeks. It seems like he's spent every waking hour out here at the course preparing for this event. This is an important tournament for Ryan...he needs to play well and get some confidence in order to stay in the lineup later in the spring.
"We missed Scott Seibert in our last tournament. Scott suffered a broken nose shortly after coming back to school this semester and wasn't healthy enough to go to Rio Pinar. His last round of 5-under 66 was huge for this team last fall. Scott is very capable of shooting some low numbers and that would be a big boost for us right now.
"We are lucky to have the opportunity to take an individual to this prestigious event and David Butwell is a very deserving student-athlete. David works so very, very hard and wants to contribute to this team so very, very badly. He's been an important part of our success this season. If David takes a little pressure off himself -- playing as an individual in this event gives him that opportunity -- you will see his scores really get better."
HEAD COACH Mike Mayer
Mike Mayer begins his sixth season at the helm of the Indiana men's golf program. His focus has been to rekindle the fire that brought the Indiana men's golf team a Big Ten Championship in 1998.
It appears that Mayer is right on course, as he is coming off two of his most productive recruiting seasons during his tenure. Tremendous recruiting is what has propelled the Hoosiers out of the Big Ten Conference basement over the past two years.
The last two seasons, Mayer's newcomers have produced the first, fourth, fifth, and sixth-lowest freshman stroke averages in school history.
Mayer is quite familiar with IU, as he is an alum and spent nine seasons as an assistant coach under Sam Carmichael before taking over the men's program in the fall of 1998.
During those nine seasons as an assistant coach, Mayer was a part of two Big Ten Championships and a trip to the NCAA Championships.
Mayer also serves as the Director of Golf at Indiana University in charge of the IU golf facility and is also a Class A member of the Professional Golfers Association of America and a Class A PGA Professional.
ASSISTANT COACH Josh Brewer
Josh Brewer enters his second season as Indiana men's golf assistant coach after rejoining the Hoosier family on March 1 last season.
Brewer is not new to Indiana golf, as he played on the IU men's golf team from 1995-98. During his tenure at Indiana, the Brownstown, Ind., native carded a 76.33 stroke average over 139 rounds.
Mayer and Brewer certainly aren't strangers to one another, as Mayer served as an assistant coach to Sam Carmichael during Brewer's four-year playing career.
TEAM EARNS THIRD TITLE
The Hoosiers closed out their fall campaign in style with their third straight championship at the Xavier Provident Invitational on Oct. 13-14. IU took the rain-shortened two-round event with a total of 560 (283-277), holding off second-place Marquette by one shot. The three wins mark the first time IU has won back-to-back-to-back tournaments since 1974-75.
Entering the final round of the 49er Collegiate Classic trailing by five strokes on Oct. 6-7, the Hoosiers stormed back with 279 for its second straight championship. Indiana finished with a three-round total of 842 (282-281-279), good for 22-under-par and a six-stroke victory.
On Sept. 27-28, IU set a new 54-hole school record shooting 837 (273-283-281) en route to winning the Hoosier Invitational.
OVERTON WINS AGAIN
Jeff Overton concluded his fall season with his fourth straight individual championship, breaking his own 36-hole school record with 130 (65-65) at the Xavier Provident Invitational. Overton closed out the fall with a 67.18 scoring average, shooting in the 60s 10 out of the 11 rounds he played.
Coming off his first collegiate victories at the Northern Intercollegiate (Sept. 20-21) and Hoosier Invitational, Overton continued his incredible play with a nine-stroke victory at the 49er Collegiate Classic. The Evansville, Ind., broke three of his own school records at the event. Overton downed his 54-hole school record by four strokes with 199 in addition to setting a then-36-hole record (131) and a new single round record (64).
Overton won the Hoosier Invitational by five strokes with 203 (65-69-69) and won his first career collegiate title at the Northern with 207 (67-69-71).
BIRKENFELD STEPPING UP
Heading into the season without participating in an event at IU, it was unknown what Mike Birkenfeld could contribute to the team. His fall season proved he has a lot to contribute. The junior finished second at the Hoosier Invitational, firing a 5-under-par 208 (71-68-69) in his best outing of the season.
The previous week, in his Hoosier debut, the Evansville, Ind., native tied for 19th place with 220 (71-75-74) at the Northern Intercollegiate. He ended the season with a second top 10 appearance, tying for seventh with 139 (68-71) at the Xavier Provident Invitational.
Birkenfeld completed the fall with a 71.64 scoring average, second on the team to Overton's 67.18 average.
PETERS CONSISTENTLY GOOD
Heath Peters finished tied for seventh place at the Hoosier Invitational, his ninth-career top 10 finish. The junior also finished tied for seventh the previous weekend at the Northern.
At the 49er Collegiate Classic, the junior just missed his third straight top 10, finishing in 11th place with 214 (72-72-70). He carded 214 scores in three of the four fall events.
Dating back to last season, Peters has placed in the top 10 six times in his last 11 events. He is third on the team with a 71.91 scoring average.
CASSIDY ON A ROLL
Entering his senior season with something to prove, Ryan Cassidy has done exactly that. Starting the fall season with a strong showing at the Northern, finishing tied for 27th (77-74-71), the Arlington Heights, Ill., native netted his fourth-career top 10, and his second consecutive top 10 finish after tying for eighth at the 49er Collegiate Classic with 212 (73-68-71).
Cassidy turned in his best performance of the season at the Hoosier Invitational with a tie for fifth place. The senior finished the fall with a 72.73 scoring average and new personal 18-hole records (68) in the first round of the Hoosier Invitational and the second round of the 49er Collegiate Classic.
OVERTON RANKED NO. 2
Jeff Overton is ranked No. 2 in Golfweek's current ranking. The junior sits behind top-ranked Bill Hass of Wake Forest with his 68.36 scoring average. Hass holds a scoring average of 68.24.
In Golfstat's individual rankings, Overton sits as the third-ranked golfer in the nation. He was ranked No. 1 entering the spring season, but now sits behind top-ranked Spencer Levin of New Mexico and Haas.
INDIANA IN THE RANKINGS
After the team's incredible fall season, it is ranked second in the Midwest District rankings. The Hoosiers are only trailing Big Ten rival Minnesota.
IU entered the spring season ranked in both the Golfstat and Golfweek Top 25. Indiana sat 19th in the Golfstat rankings and 24th in the Golfweek poll.
During the fall season, IU ranked as high as fifth in both polls.
Following their victories at the Xavier Provident Invitational, the Hoosier Invitational and 49er Collegiate Classic and finishing second at the Northern, the Hoosiers got off to their best start in the program's history. The last time an IU team won three straight championships was the 1974-75 campaign.
Indiana's dominant performance at the Hoosier Invitational moved this Hoosier team into the record books. As a team, IU broke the school's 54-hole scoring record by shooting 837 (273-283-281).
Additionally, Indiana set a new 36-hole scoring record at 556 (273-283).
Jeff Overton continues to rewrite the record books, breaking three of his own records at the 49er Collegiate Classic. His three-day tournament total of 199 broke his old Indiana record by four strokes. Meanwhile, he shot a school record 64 in the opening round and followed it up with a 67 in round two, breaking his 36-hole record with 131.
The next week, at the Xavier Provident Invitational, he broke his 36-hole record once again, shooting 130 (65-65).
OVERTON GOLFER OF WEEK
IU men's golf standout Jeff Overton was named GolfWorld Magazine's Golfer of the Week in its Sept. 26 issue. The junior earned the award after winning the Northern Intercollegiate Individual Championship on Sept. 21.
In addition, Overton was named honorable mention for National Amateur of the Month for October by the Southern Golf Association.
SEIBERT COMES THROUGH
In his fall debut at the Xavier Provident Invitational, sophomore Scott Seibert gave the team a big boost with a second round 66, his lowest single round score in his career and the third-lowest score in IU history. Seibert recovered from an opening round 80 providing a huge second-round score to propel the Hoosiers to the top of the leaderboard.
Freshman David Butwell participated in his third straight tournament at the 49er Collegiate Classic. Butwell finished tied for 46th place with rounds of 76-74-76.
The Southampton, England native carded his best finish this season at the Hoosier Invitational, ending the event tied for 19th (72-74-74), the sixth Hoosier finishing in the top 20 at the tournament.
Butwell competed as an individual in his first collegiate event at the Northern, finishing the event with 229.
Sophomores Aaron Walters and Oren Hodak and freshman Tad Sacheck made their collegiate debuts at the Hoosier Invitational. Walters, a Bloomington, Ind., native flourished in the event, placing in a tie for 19th with 220 (71-76-73).
Hodak, who redshirted two years ago, opened the first two rounds of the event with a pair of 73s before closing with a final-round 79. His three-round total of 225 was good for a tie for 39th.
Sacheck, the Zionsville, Ind., native opened with a first round 75 and closed the event with 235 (75-78-82).
BIG TEN PREVIEW
Indiana's performance at the Northern Intercollegiate bodes well for the team at the Big Ten Championships. The event is referred to as the "Big Ten Preview" because it is played on the course that will host the Big Ten Championships (University of Michigan Golf Course).
Jeff Overton captured his first collegiate title with his two-shot victory at the event, and IU finished second behind Xavier with a three-round score of 863.
The Hoosiers finished ahead of the other six Big Ten teams in the field and finished 11 strokes ahead of third place Ohio State.
OVERTON'S SUMMER SUCCESS
Jeff Overton not only competed, but contended at several of the top amateur tournaments in the United States this summer. The All-American candidate won the Indiana State Amateur Championship by 12 strokes, shooting a course record 64 in the final round.
Three weeks later, Overton earned medalist honors at the U.S. Public Links Championship. The junior tied a USGA 36-hole record at 10-under-par 132, winning the title by seven shots.
OVERTON BREAKS IU RECORD
Jeff Overton completed a spectacular six rounds of qualifying prior to the Northern. In his fifth round, he fired a 62, a new IU Golf Course record. The Evansville, Ind., native shot a six-under-par 30 on the front-nine followed by a three-under-par 32 on the back. He finished with 10 birdies and one bogey in the round.
SHAUN MICHEEL WINS PGA
On August 17, former Hoosier All-American Shaun Micheel captured the season's final major, the PGA Championship, at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y.
Leading by one-shot heading into the 72nd hole of the tournament, Micheel hit what will go down as one of the greatest shots in PGA Championship history. Sitting 174 yards from the pin in the first cut of rough, he dropped a 7-iron within three inches, leaving him a tap-in for birdie and his first career victory on the PGA Tour.
Check back soon