In college athletics, freshmen can face difficulty getting adjusted to the higher level of competition at the university level, but that has not been the case for Illinois State freshman men’s golfer Kyle Meihofer.
Out of all the Redbirds who competed in all nine rounds at their first three tournaments, the Valparaiso, Ind., native topped the squad with a 665 score, good for an average of 73.9 per round.
“I didn’t really plan on coming in here and doing so well right away,” Meihofer said. “Obviously it was a goal of mine to make the starting five and play, but I really didn’t expect myself to play this well. Going forward, I’m just going to take it in stride and just play tournament-by-tournament and shot-by-shot.”
Meihofer earned the best score on the team of 231 at the Wolf Run Intercollegiate tournament from Sept. 21-22.
He also received the second-best mark on the squad at both the Weibring Intercollegiate tournament from Sept. 15-16 with a total of 218 and the Badger Invitational from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 with a 216 score.
Meihofer earned numerous individual accolades in high school including being a two-time Indiana High School Athletic Association All-State golfer, a top-five rank in the Indiana Junior Golf Scoreboard and nationally ranked in the top 100 for the 2013 recruiting class by Golfweek. Meihofer classifies receiving all-state honors during his junior and senior years as one of his biggest accomplishments.
“I made all-state golf junior and senior year, which was one of my goals going into high school to make it at least one year,” Meihofer said. “I made it two years, so that was a big bonus. Other than that, I just kept playing tournament-by-tournament and everything turned out well.”
Before coming to ISU, Meihofer competed in tournaments on the American Junior Golf Association and the Professional Golfers Association Junior Series circuit. These events prepared the business administration major for playing collegiately as a Redbird.
“The big junior tournaments really were exactly like college tournaments, so it prepared me for the amount of pressure that was put on,” Meihofer said. “But it didn’t really seem like any pressure at all — just another round of golf.”
Meihofer was also a four-time state qualifier in the IHSAA for the Valparaiso High School Vikings. However, the team did not have the success he had hoped for, finishing eighth his freshman year, not placing at state his sophomore and junior years and finishing 12th his senior year.
Meihofer recognizes a higher level of talent out of his college teammates compared to his high school teammates that leads to a higher level of success as a team. The Redbirds finished in third place at both the Weibring Intercollegiate tournament and Badger Invitational.
“It’s always easy to go out and play with guys that you know, so that’s really something I really enjoyed in high school,” Meihofer said. “But playing here, it’s a bunch of guys that can compete with me and as a team we have success.”
The fall season for Meihofer and the rest of the ISU men’s golf team has concluded, and the Redbirds resume action on Jan. 25, 2014 at the Tinervin Cup in Placida, Fla.