West Lafayette will be the destination of golfers from all across the country this weekend as teams travel to compete in the Boilermaker Invitational.
The Boilers have been on a steady rise this season, as they have had three tournaments in which the team finished in the top three. One of these tournaments was the Big Ten Match Play Championship in February, in which the Boilers tied for first and took home the title.
Earlier in the year, on Sept. 22, the Boilers were ranked 66th in the nation. As of March 29, Purdue has climbed and is now ranked 45th in the nation.
A lot of the Boilermakers’ success can be accredited to senior standout Brian Carlson. Just a few weeks ago, Carlson won his fourth career Big Ten Golfer of the Week award, his second this spring. He was ranked as the 209th best golfer in the country in September and has now worked his way up to the 54th spot. He won his second career tournament after he shot a 9-under-par 207 in the Hayt Invitational.
“I think the guys are doing well,” Carlson said. “I mean, we have four freshmen on the team, so I think they have adjusted nicely and I think we have good momentum going into this tournament for sure.”
Carlson also pointed out the benefits of playing at Kampen Course.
“It’s our home event so we obviously have a huge advantage,” Carlson said. “First time playing this course, it could be pretty intimidating, but we’ve played it a bunch of times. So I think we have a pretty good chance at it.”
One of the four freshmen who Carlson mentioned earlier is Jason Hong, who has played in the lineup for Purdue all year long. A challenge players will have to face is the longevity of the tournament. There are 36 holes to be played on Saturday, along with the final 18 on Sunday.
“Thirty-six is tough,” Hong said. “You get tired physically and mentally, so the last nine holes is always a grind. You’ve got to eat well, drink a lot of water and just stay patient.”
While the weekend will be a long one, head coach Rob Bradley said he isn’t too worried about that aspect.
“They’re used to it now,” Bradley said. “It’s something they’ve all done before at some point. I think it’s even a little bit easier to do on your own home golf course. There’s a little less stress and you’re more familiar with how things are gonna go and what the golf course is like.”
The Boilermaker Invitational, which will be the final tune-up for Purdue before the Big Ten Championship later in April, will take place all day Saturday and Sunday at Kampen Course.