DADE CITY, Fla. — Purdue University senior golfer, Adam Schenk, is still looking for his first NCAA tournament win after coming within one stroke of a victory on Tuesday at the University of South Florida Invitational.
Schenk came into the final day at Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club in second place in the individual standings after shooting a 65 and a 70 in the first two days, scores that guaranteed him at least a first-runner-up finish.
The Vincennes, Ind., native knew that in order to stay amongst the leaders, and give himself a chance to win, he would have to stay under par through 18 holes.
“There were a lot of good players near the top,” the 22-year-old said. “I figured if I would have shot even on the back nine I wouldn’t have won. So I needed to keep it going, and shoot three or four under.”
Schenk accomplished that goal shooting a three-under-par on the last nine holes, and a 15-under-par overall for second place after eventual winner Jack Maguire.
Adding a fourth-place finish at the New Years Invitational, and a third-place standing at the Puerto Rico Classic, Schenk now has three straight top-five finishes and is looking forward to a handful of tournaments before he graduates, particularly the Big Ten Conference Championship.
“A win at Big Ten as a team would be pretty cool,” said Schenk. “We have never won anything as a team.”
Despite a lack of victories for the Purdue team, it’s hard for coach Rob Bradley to imagine his squad without Schenk.
“Obviously losing somebody that’s capable of doing what he’s been doing the last couple of tournaments is a huge loss,” said Bradley. “You can’t replace him.”
When Schenk graduates with a degree in Business Management this coming fall, he will be looking ahead to a golf career outside of college.
“I’m absolutely going to turn professional at some point,” said Schenk. “I just don’t know if it’s going to be early this summer, or late next fall.”
For his part, coach Bradley has every confidence that Schenk has a place in professional golf.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that he can play at the highest level. I think along the way you need to catch some breaks and play some good golf,” said Bradley. “And he’ll need to keep continuing to improve, just like the guys on the PGA tour continue to improve.”