Crowder finishes career as league’s top player

<p>All Austin Crowder wanted was a chance to play college golf. Four years ago he got it, a former coach leaving the door slightly ajar.</p><p>Crowder, a starter at Center Grove all four seasons (2012-15), entered the IUPUI program as a preferred walk-on and played the last three seasons on scholarship.</p><p>Crowder recently culminated the journey by being named the Horizon League Men’s Golfer of the Year in a vote by league coaches. The senior’s 18-hole stroke average of 72.36 is the school’s new single-season record, while his career norm (74.85) is fourth all-time.</p>[sc:text-divider text-divider-title="Story continues below gallery" ]<p>Five of Crowder’s 14 top-10 career finishes took place over the most recent fall and spring golf seasons. In October, Crowder was co-medalist at the Chatham Hills Collegiate in Westfield, Indiana, tying the school’s 54-hole record with a score of 68-69-68—205.</p><p>“My time here has definitely gone by fast,” Crowder said. “When you’re a freshman you look at things and sometimes wonder if you made the right decision. But it’s been so much fun.</p><p>“With the relationships that I’ve made, I just don’t think there’s anything better than college sports.”</p><p>On May 11, Crowder graduate from IUPUI with a degree in sports management. He said he’ll miss the travel of road tournaments, his favorites being the University of Memphis tournament in the fall and testing his shot skills at Glen Oaks Country Club in Des Moines, Iowa.</p><p>Crowder, whose stroke average as a junior was a disappointing 76.25, used a successful summer on the golf course to catapult himself to noticeable improvement as a senior.</p><p>“A lot of it goes to Austin as a person,” IUPUI coach</p><p>Broce said of the turnaround. “He’s always had the ability to be really good, and over the summer he won some tournaments. That was sort of a precursor to this season. He was in a good place mentally.”</p><p>Crowder knows the conference honor could have just as well gone to teammate Nick Bienz, a senior who carded a 72.2 norm in the regular season. They are two of the three seniors on IUPUI roster.</p><p>“I kind of put Austin and Nick together because their careers are very parallel, and I think they inspired each other,” Broce said. “They like to have fun, but they know when to get serious and go get the job done.”</p>