IUPUI sophomore Austin Crowder is evidence there is no direct correlation between a golfer’s average score and what spot he fills in a lineup.
The Jaguars’ No. 2 or 3 golfer much of the season, Crowder finished with the fewest number of total strokes (2,387) of the three players who competed in all 32 of the team’s matches.
Additionally, his 18-hole average of 74.59 edged that of sophomore Nick Bienz (74.84) and junior Jackson Juerling (75.97).
“I just don’t put a lot of stock into the number someone plays,” IUPUI coach John Andrews said. “Austin did adapt well. He puts his head down and says, ‘What can I shoot?’ Austin doesn’t worry about a lot of outside factors, and that’s rare.”
Golf coaches have their reasons for playing certain golfers at a specific place in the lineup.
Sometimes it’s a matter of having a golfer who plays fast at the No. 5 spot — or first off the tee — so that particular threesome or foursome is free to play at a comfortable pace without worrying about groups ahead of them.
“I just think Austin felt comfortable in the middle,” Andrews said.
Crowder, a four-year starter at Center Grove from 2012-15, played 20 rounds as a Jaguar freshman with a 76.8 average.
He said he thinks the biggest improvements to his game since this time last year are course management, putting and an ability to produce cleaner shots from a sand trap.
IUPUI’s season came to a close May 2 with a fourth-place finish (out of nine) at the Summit League Championships in Newton, Kansas. The three-day event concluded with Crowder firing a final-round 69 to finish tied for ninth individually.
Despite finishing five shots off the pace with a 3-over-par 76-74-69—219, Crowder said he believes he could have contended for medalist honors had his short game not let him down.
Nonetheless, he is content with the work he put in and the results it produced.
“The college game is so much different than high school golf because of the courses we play and where the pins are placed,” Crowder said. “My freshman year it took me a little while to get used to it.”
Now comfortable with all things college golf, Crowder, who carries a 3.1 grade-point average majoring in management, begins preparing for the second half of his IUPUI career.