Overton Wins Northern, IU Second
Ann Arbor, Mich. -- Coming off a spectacular summer and an incredible performance at qualifying, including a new IU Golf Course record low round of 62, it seemed like a matter of time before IU men's golf standout Jeff Overton captured his first collegiate championship, and it happened Sunday. Overton fired a final round even-par 71 and three-round score of six-under-par, holding off Xavier's Neal Grusczynski for the Northern Intercollegiate Individual Championship.
"Jeff played great the whole tournament," said head coach Mike Mayer. "He continues his impressive play and it bodes well for the future of this team. Hopefully this will be a start of a lot of great things for him. He is ready to establish himself as one of the premier golfers in the country."
Heading into the final round, the junior held a four-stroke lead after carding rounds of 67 and 69. His two-round total tied his career-best 36-hole mark of 136. Grusczynski charged out of the gates and narrowed the gap with a 67, but Overton was too strong down the stretch, holding on for a two-stroke victory.
After opening his round with a bogey on the first hole, the All-American candidate played level par the final eight holes of the frontside.
Entering the back nine at five-under-par for the tournament and holding a two-shot lead, Overton birdied the 11th and 12th holes to reach seven-under-par for the first time in the event. A bogey at the par-three 14th brought him back to the field, but he recorded pars the final four holes en route to winning his first collegiate championship after three runner-up finishes.
"I just stuck to my game plan and hit a lot of really good shots," said Overton. "I didn't make a lot of putts, but I stuck to my routine. I had patience and was able hang on for the win."
As a team, the Hoosiers finished second, 10 strokes behind Xavier and 11 strokes ahead of Ohio State. The squad entered the final round tied for the lead with the Musketeers at five-over-par, but could not overcome Xavier's strong play. IU finished the three-round event with a combined score of 863.
"I'm pleased with how we played," said Mayer. "Xavier had a great round, and we really couldn't get anything going today. Overall, it was a good showing and a good start to our season."
In addition to Overton, junior Heath Peters completed the weekend tying for seventh place, his eighth-career top 10. IU's number two golfer began the day tied for second place, four shots behind his teammate, before firing a 74 in the final round. The Garrett, Ind., native finished the tournament with 214 (68-72-74).
"Heath had a great tournament," said Mayer. "Seventh place is a strong showing. He really had a good tournament.
Junior Mike Birkenfeld closed the tournament tied for 19th place, ending with 220 (71-75-74). Rounding out the lineup, senior Ryan Cassidy shot an even-par 71, finishing the event tied for 27th with 222 (77-74-71).
Mike played well in his first tournament as a Hoosier," said Mayer. "His play was a big boost for this team. My hat is off to him. He showed a lot of heart.
"Ryan Cassidy coming back from his opening round 77 was huge. Ryan is playing better, and it's great to see a senior set himself up to really help the team. He has proven to us he can really play."
Seeing his first collegiate action, freshman David Butwell competed as an individual. The Southampton, England native rebounded after an opening round 76 with a second- round 73, before succumbing to the difficult course with a closing 80.
Additionally, sophomore Brad Marek closed with a final-round 75. The Arlington Heights, Ill., native improved his score each round. After an opening-round 79, Marek came back with a 77 in round two.
Up next, the Hoosiers return to their home course for the Hoosier Invitational. 13 teams join IU in the event which will be held at the IU Golf Course in Bloomington, Ind., Saturday and Sunday, September 27 and 28.
Northern Intercollegiate Individual Results
1) Jeff Overton -6 (67-69-71)
T7) Heath Peters +1 (68-72-74)
T19) Mike Birkenfeld +7 (71-75-74)
T27) Ryan Cassidy +9 (77-74-71)
T65) David Butwell* +16 (76-73-80)
T73) Brad Marek +18 (79-77-75)
* competed as individual
Northern Intercollegiate Team Results
1) Xavier - 853
2) INDIANA - 863
3) Ohio State - 874
T4) Penn State - 886
T4) Miami (Ohio) - 886
T4) Akron - 886
7) Wisconsin - 888
8) Bowling Green - 890
T9) Northern Illinois - 891
T9) Ball State - 891
11) Purdue - 892
12) Eastern Michigan - 894
13) Michigan - 895
14) Marshall - 897
15) Iowa - 898
Check back soon