Hoosiers 2nd After 36 @ Kepler
COLUMBUS, Ohio - While the nation's best professional golfers are dueling it out on the tough Augusta National Golf Club at The Masters this weekend, top collegiate teams are battling tough U.S. Open-style conditions at the Ohio State Scarlet Course in Columbus, Ohio.
One of those teams is the Indiana men's golf squad, which currently sits second entering the final round at the Kepler Intercollegiate.
It is a position which the Hoosiers are beginning to get all too comfortable with. "After 36 holes, let's be in second place and have one individual near the lead." It happened at the Johnny Owens Invitational two weeks ago, and at the Marshall Invitational just last weekend.
This weekend is no different. The Hoosiers fired a 600 (302-298) Saturday, and sit nine strokes back of host Ohio State. Indiana sophomore and current Big Ten Golfer of the Week, Jeff Overton, is tied for the individual lead at 1-under-par 143.
Toledo's Brad Heaven is tied for first with Overton, while there is a three-way tie for second place at 2-over-par 146.
Overton's 36-hole total of 143 is a new Indiana record at the Kepler, bettering three-time All-American Randy Leen's mark of 144. Overton set the Indiana 18-hole record for the Kepler last year, with a second round 68.
"Words do not describe how good Jeff's performance was today," said an elated Indiana coach Mike Mayer. "I really am speechless. His last three weeks (T-2nd at Johnny Owens, lost in playoff at Marshall), have been some of the best golf I've ever seen."
The Kepler Intercollegiate is deemed by many as the U.S. Open of collegiate golf, and the conditions were very similar to the professional major on Saturday.
"This golf course was set up just the way we prepared for, tough," Mayer said. "The course was set up as long as they could play it (7,251 yards), the pins were tucked tight, and the rough was extremely high."
This marks the third straight week the Hoosiers will enter the last round in the final pairing. Indiana has finished second the past two tournaments, and will look to cut in to the Buckeyes' nine-stroke lead tomorrow.
Senior Aldo Jordan is tied for 15th at 150 (74-76), while freshman Scott Seibert is two strokes back at 152 (77-75) tied for 23rd. Heath Peters is tied for 58th at 156 (80-76) and Ben Davidson is tied for 72nd at 158 (79-79).
Should Indiana hang on Sunday and finish in the top-five, it will mark the first time a Hoosier squad has finished in the top-five in three consecutive tournaments since the 1996-97 season (4th, Southeastern Intercollegiate; 4th, Dr. Pepper Intercollegiate; 3rd, Marshall Invitational).
IU has not finished in the top-three in three consecutive tournaments since the 1990-91 campaign (3rd, Indiana Invitational; 1st, Firestone Intercollegiate; 2nd, Spartan/Fossum Invitational).
The Hoosiers take to the famed Scarlet Course tomorrow for the final 18 holes, beginning at 8:00 a.m. EST.
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