Hoosiers Fifth, Overton and Peters All-Big Ten at Big Tens
Ann Arbor, Mich. - The Indiana men's golf team finished in fifth place at the Big Ten Championships with a 54-hole 865 total (286-291-288). IU's finish is the best at the Big Tens in head coach Mike Mayer's six seasons and the best finish since the 1997-98 team captured the team title.
Ohio State claimed the championship with a 10-under-par 842 (279-279-284), finishing five strokes ahead of Illinois (847) and six strokes ahead of Minnesota (848).
"Overall, it was a frustrating weekend," said Mayer. "It is disappointing because I really felt we could win this. We got off to a nice start Saturday morning and really couldn't get anything going in the afternoon round. Today was an up-and-down day for us. Hats off to Ohio State. They played outstanding and deserved the championship."
Buckeye senior Kevin Hall won medalist honors with a new Big Ten Championship 54-hole record, 14-under-par 199 total (66-65-68). Hall outpaced runners-up Joe Affrunti and Mike O'Neal of Illinois by 11 strokes.
Indiana's number one golfer, Jeff Overton, ended the Championships in a tie for 22nd place at 217 (70-73-74), but was a big winner off the course. The junior was honored by the Big Ten with three year-end awards. Overton was the unanimous selection as Big Ten Player of the Year, becoming the third Hoosier (Shaun Micheel, 1991; Randy Leen, 1996, 97, 98) to receive the honor.
The Evansville, Ind., native also received the Les Bolstad Award for the low season stroke average in the Conference. His 70.26 average was not only the lowest score in the Big Ten, it is the lowest single-season stroke average in IU history. He joins Rob Jackson (1975) and Micheel (1991) as the only IU golfers to win the award.
Overton's average is also the lowest of any previous Les Bolstad Award winner since the honor was first given out in 1974. Luke Donald of Northwestern previously held the record at 70.45.
"It's great to receive these honors. It's something everyone dreams of when they come to a Big Ten school. It's nice to have won both of these awards," said Overton.
In addition, Overton was a first-team All-Big Ten selection for the second time in his career. He was named first-team All-Big Ten his freshman year and second-team All-Big Ten as a sophomore.
Along with Overton, Heath Peters was recognized by the Big Ten as a second-team selection. It is the junior's first selection on the All-Big Ten team and gives Indiana two All-Big Ten selections for the eighth time in school history and the first time since 1998 (Randy Leen, Josh Brewer).
"Jeff and Heath both had great seasons and deserved to be recognized by the Big Ten. We wouldn't have had the success we had this year without them," said Mayer.
In the Championships, Peters fired a 1-over 72 in the closing round on the heels of a 72 and 75 in rounds one and two, respectively. The junior's 219 total placed him in a tie for 28th. In the final round, Peters opened with a pair of birdies on the first two holes before falling back to 1-over entering the backside.
Sitting at 4-over after 13 holes, the Garrett, Ind., native finished strong down the stretch with birdies at 14, 15 and 17 en route to his 72.
Mike Birkenfeld was the low Hoosier golfer for the tournament with a 54-hole, 3-over-par total of 216 (74-73-69). Playing in his first Big Ten Championships, the junior led Indiana with a tie for 17th place and his final round 69. Birkenfeld birdied three of the final four holes he played to get to 2-under-par.
On the front nine, the Evansville, Ind., native birdied the par-five third and par-four fourth to go out in 34. After bogeying three of his first four holes on the back nine, Birkenfeld bounced back with his birdie barrage to close with 69.
"It was mentally draining, but it was a good time," said Birkenfeld on playing in his first Big Ten Championships. "I got off to a real good start. I was hitting the ball real good on the front nine. On the back nine, I got off to a slow start but got it together and battled back down the stretch."
Additionally, Scott Seibert ended the Championships with 221 (70-78-73), good for a 34th place tie. Seibert's 221 matches his low 54-hole total of the season (FirstEnergy Intercollegiate, April 24-25) and the second lowest of his career. In his final round, the sophomore reeled off eight consecutive pars for his 73 score.
David Butwell concluded his first Big Ten Championships in a tie for 36th at 222. The freshman ended the tournament with a final round 74 after a 78 and 70 in the first two rounds.
"Mike Birkenfeld stepped up in a big way for us. He came through huge in the five spot. Scott and David contributed very well. It was very positive for them," said Mayer.
As a team, Indiana finished the regular season with a 290.17 stroke average, breaking last year's school record scoring average of 293.70. The Hoosiers also finished with four victories, the second most in school history and the most since the 1974-75 season.
Up next, the Hoosiers await the announcement of the field for the NCAA Regionals. The Central Regionals will be held at the Kampen Golf Course in West Lafayette on Thursday-Saturday, May 20-22.
"I think we deserve to go (to the NCAA Regionals). We represent this Conference, the school and ourselves well. I'm confident we'll get that bid, but we're right on the bubble," said Mayer.
T17) Mike Birkenfeld 216 (74-73-69)
T22) Jeff Overton 217 (70-73-74)
T28) Heath Peters 219 (72-75-72)
T34) Scott Seibert 221 (70-78-73)
T36) David Butwell 222 (78-70-74)
1) Ohio State 842 (279-279-284)
2) Illinois 847 (279-291-277)
3) Minnesota 848 (287-279-282)
4) Purdue 860 (287-289-284)
5) INDIANA 865 (286-291-288)
6) Penn State 869 (291-285-293)
T7) Michigan 871 (297-292-282)
T7) Northwestern 871 (292-288-291)
9) Iowa 873 (295-288-290)
10) Michigan State 876 (287-293-296)
11) Wisconsin 897 (299-300-298)
2004 BIG TEN MEN'S GOLF AWARDS
2004 All-Big Ten Conference
1) Jeff Overton - Indiana
2) Bronson La'Cassie - Minnesota
3) Justin Smith - Minnesota
4) Joe Affrunti - Illinois
5) Kevin Hall - Ohio State
6) Shiv Kapur - Purdue
1) Heath Peters - Indiana
2) Peter Richardson - Purdue
3) Tom Johnson - Northwestern
4) Patrick Nagle - Illinois
5) Ben Greve - Minnesota
6) David Morgan - Minnesota
2004 Big Ten Freshman of the Year
Bronson La'Cassie - Minnesota
2004 Big Ten Player of the Year
Jeff Overton - Indiana (unanimous selection)
2004 Big Ten Coach of the Year
Jim Brown - Ohio State
Les Bolstad Award Winner (low season stroke average)
Jeff Overton - Indiana
2004 Big Ten All-Championship Team
1) Kevin Hall - Ohio State
2) Joe Affrunti - Illinois
3) Mike O'Neal - Illinois
4) Justin Smith - Minnesota
5) Bronson La'Cassie - Minnesota
6) David Morgan - Minnesota
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