Hoosiers, Overton Win Again
Charlotte, N.C. - Entering the final round of the 49er Collegiate Classic trailing by five strokes, the IU men's golf team stormed back with 279 for the championship Tuesday afternoon. Indiana finished with a three-round total of 842 (282-281-279), good for 22-under-par and a six-stroke victory over Xavier.
After finishing second at the season opening Northern Intercollegiate, IU has won back-to-back tournaments for the first time since 1987 when Indiana captured the Badger Invitational and the Hillman Robbins Memorial. The team's successful run to begin the fall season is the best three-tournament stretch to start a season in Indiana golf history. The last time an IU team placed as high in three consecutive events was the 1971-72 season when the Hoosiers captured three consecutive championships.
"This was a huge win for us," said head coach Mike Mayer. "It was a shaky start, but we proved to ourselves and everyone in the field that we are tough. We made some early mistakes, but got ourselves composed and played solid golf from the fifth hole on."
The Hoosiers were led by junior Jeff Overton, who broke the school's 54-hole record he set last week (199), closing with a final round 68 en route to his third consecutive championship. The fourth-ranked golfer in the nation finished the tournament 17-under-par and downed runners-up Matt Davidson from Furman and Matt Mince from Charlotte by nine strokes. In the event, the Evansville, Ind., native also shot a school record 64 in the opening round and followed it up with a 67 in round two, breaking his 36-hole record he set last week with 131.
"It's been great," said Overton of his performance this fall. "I played as well as I could and let the chips fall where they fell. The main thing is the team won. Our guys came back with a lot of confidence and showed a lot of heart today to win."
In addition to Overton, senior Ryan Cassidy carded his second consecutive top 10 finish, shooting 212. He closed the tournament with a final round 71, coming off the heels of an opening round 73 and second round 68. The Arlington Heights, Ill., native now has four career top 10's, two this season, while setting a new personal low 36-hole (141) and equaling a new 54-hole (212) best.
Junior Heath Peters just missed his third straight top 10 finish on the season shooting a final round 70, good for a three-round total of 214 (72-70-70) and an 11th place finish.
"Heath and Ryan played great, and Jeff capped it off with his brilliant play," said Mayer. "It was a big time effort from everybody."
Matching Peters' 70 was junior Mike Birkenfeld, who continued his great play this season. The Evansville, Ind., native helped Indiana garner control of the tournament by posting the first Hoosier score of the day.
"Birkenfeld led the way and set the tone for the day in the fifth spot," said Mayer. "He played very well today and put pressure on the rest of the field with his score."
Rounding out IU's lineup was David Butwell, who finished the event at 226 (76-74-76). The freshman has competed in all three events Indiana has participated in this season.
Overton has carded eight out of nine rounds in the 60s, including his last six rounds. His scoring average for the season is 67.67, and his scoring average in the last two tournaments is 67.00. Additionally, the team has averaged 70.61 strokes in three events this season.
"Jeff is playing with all the confidence in the world," said Mayer. "Right now, he is the best player in college golf, and the scores indicate that. I have never seen that kind of score (199) posted. He blew away the field. He has won three-in-a-row. The team has won two-in-a-row, and it's on to Xavier (Oct. 13-14).
IU looks to make it three straight victories while Overton looks for victory number four when the Hoosiers travel to Mason, Ohio for the Xavier Invitational. The tournament will be held at the O'Bannon Creek Golf Course on Monday, Oct. 13 and Tuesday, Oct. 14.
1) Jeff Overton 199 (64-67-68)
T8) Ryan Cassidy 212 (73-68-71)
11) Heath Peters 214 (72-72-70)
T30) Mike Birkenfeld 221 (73-78-70)
T46) David Butwell 226 (76-74-76)
1) INDIANA 842 (282-281-279)
2) Xavier University 848 (275-283-290)
3) Furman 856 (292-271-293)
4) Davidson College 858 (284-290-284)
5) Charlotte 862 (287-282-293)
6) Campbell 871 (297-282-292)
7) Nebraska 874 (296-284-294)
8) Richmond 876 (300-276-300)
T9) East Carolina 883 (287-290-306)
T9) James Madison 883 (287-302-294)
11) Marquette 899 (304-299-296)
12) William & Mary 908 (307-303-298)