Overton Advances to NCAA Championships
West Lafayette, Ind. - Jeff Overton qualified for the NCAA Championships after finishing tied for 12th at the NCAA Central Regionals. The junior concluded the Regionals as the top individual from a non-qualifying team to advance.
"It was a strange day for Jeff out there," said Indiana head coach Mike Mayer. "He fought back and fought back. I told him if he parred in over his last six holes that he would probably make it. Parring in over your last six holes here at Purdue is very difficult to do. So what does he do, he birdies his next two holes. That is just Jeff Overton. He deserved to go. He has had a great year. He will represent Indiana University very well at the Championships. "
As a team, Indiana closed out the three-day tournament in a tie for 20th place with 934 (306-308-320). Kentucky captured the team championship at 882 (298-285-299) followed by Oklahoma State (893) and Oklahoma (896).
John Holmes of Kentucky garnered medalist honors with a 2-under-par 214 total, defeating Will Dodson of SMU by two strokes.
Indiana finished the 2003-04 campaign with four titles, the second-most in the program's history and the most since the 1974-75 season. The Hoosiers advanced to the NCAA tournament for the first time since the 1996-97 season and carded the lowest stroke average in school history with 291.84.
Overton ended the Regionals at 222 (71-75-76) to become the first Hoosier since Randy Leen in 1997 to qualify for the NCAA Championships. The Big Ten Player of the Year put together a string of birdies on the backside to move back into contention for one of the two individual spots.
"I hit a lot of really good shots, but this golf course is extremely difficult," said Overton. "I think I made four doubles. I hit a couple drives I thought were going to be perfect, and they ended up in the rough where I couldn't hit the ball two feet. I tried to take my medicine all I could. Luckily I made five birdies."
The Evansville, Ind., native sat at 3-over-par after the opening nine before a birdie at the par-4 11th. Following a double bogey at 12, Overton birdied the 13th and 14th holes to ensure himself a spot in the NCAA Championship field.
"It is a great honor to make the finals, but I feel bad for the team," said Overton. "Heath Peters has had a great year, and we were just short of both of us going. Hopefully we can get ready for next year as a team and go see what nationals is all about."
Heath Peters' three-day 223 total (74-70-83) was good for a tie for 30th. The junior was even for the tournament through 44 holes before a double bogey at the 421-yard, par-4 ninth hole.
"Heath played great golf for 44 holes," said Mayer. "I walked down the last fairway with him because we knew he wasn't in, and I just wanted to talk to him. He said he was in it in a big way, this was a big time competition, and he learned from it. That is all you can ask for from a student-athlete. Heath Peters proved to me in this tournament that he is a big time player."
The second-team All-Big Ten honoree completed the season with a 73.00 scoring average, the eighth lowest in IU's history. Peters also recorded six top 10 finishes on the season.
Scott Seibert rebounded from a tough opening round and finished the Regionals with 237 (81-77-79). The sophomore played the first 15 holes in 2-over-par.
Rounding out the Hoosier lineup, freshman David Butwell fired a three-round total of 248 (80-86-82), and junior Mike Birkenfeld shot 252 (82-87-83).
"This (going to the Regionals) has got to be the start and not the culmination," said Mayer. "This is where we have to go from now. We accomplished a lot this year but not everything we wanted to accomplish. We have worked hard this year, and I am extremely proud of what we have been able to do. I can't wait to the fall and practice to start."
Overton will compete at the NCAA Championships in Hot Springs, Va. The Championships will be held Tuesday-Friday, June 1-4 at Cascades Golf Course.
T12) Jeff Overton 222 (71-75-76)
T30) Heath Peters 227 (74-70-83)
T91) Scott Seibert 237 (81-77-79)
T129) David Butwell 248 (80-86-82)
136) Mike Birkenfeld 252 (82-87-83)
1) Kentucky 882 (298-285-299)
2) Oklahoma State 893 (287-298-308)
3) Oklahoma 896 (305-294-297)
4) Texas A&M 899 (292-303-304)
T5) Texas 901 (298-296-307)
T5) TCU 901 (305-297-307)
7) Purdue 905 (295-302-308)
8) Wichita State 908 (302-300-306)
9) SMU 909 (302-299-308)
10) Kent State 910 (301-305-304)
11) Minnesota 911 (302-303-306)
12) Notre Dame 914 (310-297-307)
13) Texas Tech 917 (317-298-304)
14) Ohio State 918 (302-310-306)
15) Kansas State 923 (300-305-318)
16) Kansas 926 (315-300-311)
17) Arkansas 931 (314-307-310)
T18) Tulsa 933 (314-306-313)
T18) Illinois 933 (309-320-304)
T20) INDIANA 934 (306-308-320)
T20) Lamar 934 (309-313-312)
T20) Colorado 934 (304-307-323)
23) Xavier 940 (312-316-312)
24) Western Illinois 958 (323-323-312)
25) Baylor 961 (321-317-323)
26) Princeton 974 (323-318-333)
27) Jackson State 1000 (333-337-330)
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