Hoosiers Finish Sixth on Home Course at Big Ten Championships
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Indiana University men's golf team, coaches, and staff made every effort all year long to host a successful and thrilling 2003 Big Ten Championships. Sunday, all the hard work paid off, as Minnesota held off Illinois to win the team championship in the final two holes, while the Golden Gophers' Matt Anderson holed a 30-foot putt on No. 18 to win the individual title.
A good finish to the tournament, did not necessarily mean a good finish for the host Hoosiers, as Indiana failed to gain ground in the final round, finishing sixth at 1164 (285-298-287-294).
"It's been a frustrating week for us," said Indiana head coach Mike Mayer. "Our expectations were high, yet we couldn't put it all together. I thought coming in that we could have one great round and three average rounds and be in the hunt. There were positives and negatives to having the tournament on our home golf course. It almost seemed that we spent so much time preparing this golf course, that our team forgot or at least didn't know how to play it. We played No. 1 at even-par where usually we make birdies and eagles there. On No. 11, we were 6-over-par, and you just can't have that when you're trying to fight back."
Sophomore Jeff Overton led the Hoosiers in the latter rounds of the Big Ten Championships, and tied for eighth individually at 285 (73-70-69-73). The Evansville, Ind., native was named to the second team All-Big Ten following the final round.
Classmate Heath Peters tied for 20th at 291 (70-76-72-73), after carding a 2-over-par 73 in the final round Sunday. Senior Aldo Jordan finished 22nd at 293 (69-77-73-74), while freshman Scott Seibert tied for 33rd with 297 (75-75-73-74). Senior Ben Davidson rounded out the Indiana lineup, placing tied for 35th at 300 (73-78-73-76).
"Aldo (Jordan) and Ben (Davidson) were my first two recruits, and I really could not be more proud of them," Mayer said. "I know they didn't have the tournament they wanted, but they have meant a lot to this program and will be missed."
Minnesota's 1122 shattered the 72-hole winning team score record for the Big Ten Championships, bettering Northwestern's 1131 in 1999. Anderson's score of 276 is the third best winning individual score in Big Ten history. Purdue John Konsek (1960) and Indiana's Shaun Micheel (1991) have also recorded 276 en route to winning the title.
Following second-place lllinois in the final team standings, in the third position was Ohio State (1153); a spot the Buckeyes defended successfully for the last three rounds of the championship. Northwestern (1158) shot a 4-over par 288 in the final round, the second best of the day, to move into fourth place. Purdue's (1159) rounded out the top five. Following the Boilermakers on the final team leaderboard was host Indiana (1164), Michigan State (1168), Michigan (1177), Iowa (1180), Penn State (1193), and Wisconsin (1200).
Individually, Tom Johnson of Northwestern and Illinois' James Lepp, the 2003 Big Ten Player of the Year and Les Bolstad Award Winner, shared second place with Simon Nash of Minnesota. Johnson fired a three-under par 68 in the final round while Lepp carded a two-under 69 to create the second-place logjam. Peter Karmis of Purdue was the only other competitor to finish the championship under par, as the senior tallied a 4-under par 279 through the event's four rounds.
IU finished tied for sixth at last year's conference championships, but 9th, 10th, and 11th in the three years prior. One freshman, two sophomores, and two seniors compiled Indiana's five-man lineup, proving the Hoosiers should strongly contend for the title over the next few years.
"Heath (Peters) is really on the verge of doing great things. He has a wealth of talent, and can play with anyone. Scott (Seibert) is a kid who just has a ton of heart. When you think things are going bad, he locks down, and makes them better. I think Scott has a tremendous future ahead of him. He has quite the heart and passion that is needed to play the game at this level."
"I really felt that Jeff would come up with a really special round during the tournament. I figured one day he would come in at 64 or 65, but it didn't happen. Hopefully though, Jeff will earn an at-large spot for the NCAA Regionals in Kansas and will be able to continue his season. He certainly deserves a chance."
While Indiana's season has come to an end, Overton will learn his season's fate Monday at 5:00 p.m., when the NCAA announces regional bids.
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