The Northern Illinois men’s golf team secured eighth place in the Northern Intercollegiate Sunday at Rich Harvest Farms.
NIU (908, +56) shot a 22-over 306 in the final round at its home course to edge out Mid-American Conference foe Akron by a single stroke.
The performance netted the Huskies their fourth top-10 finish in a row in a streak extending back to last season. Central Florida 870 (+18) captured the title, breaking the collegiate tournament record score in the process. The previous mark, 895 (+31), was shared by Louisville’s 2006 squad and Tulsa’s 2007 NCAA Central Regional championship team.
“It was a wonderful event over a long two days of competition; we are very appreciative of what the Rich family has allowed us to do here, to open our season at home on one of the best golf courses in the country,” NIU head coach Tom Porten said.
“Our play today, coming off of yesterday’s 26 holes, we just got a bit ‘stuck in the mud.’ We had a lot of unforced errors early, a lot of big numbers and we lost our momentum. But it was nice to see Nick Huggins, Paul Hammerschmidt, Bryce Emory and Thomas Dunne help us reclaim our position, we fell all the way to about 10th and were able to climb back to eighth.”
Emory was the last Huskie to come off the course in the final round. With the Zips already in the clubhouse at 909, it came down Emory tallying four straight pars to preserve the Huskies’ position on the leaderboard. The junior coolly met the challenge, and finished the day tied for the team’s best score with a five-over 76. Emory led NIU with a tie for 22nd.
Freshmen Dunne and Nick Schiavi shared low Huskie of the final round honors with Emory, also shooting 76. The score mirrored Dunne’s his first round result; however, it came on a tougher Sunday course setup. The score earned the Dublin, Ohio native a tie for 56th in his collegiate debut. Schiavi, a Barrington High School graduate, jumped up ten places to 39th during the afternoon.
Junior Hammerschmidt (227, +14) tied for 25th after coasting up the leaderboard on the back of his five back nine birdies in the second round. Freshman Huggins (228, +15) was the team’s top finishing new face, posting a tie for 32nd in his first outing as a Huskie. Griffin Bauman (231, +18) was the fourth NIU golfer to post a third-round 76 en route to a tie for 48th.
“It’s always good to start the season 5-1 against our conference opponents, credit to Ball State for their fine play,” Porten said. “I think we learned some great things about our team and now we head to California on Friday and get to do it all over again.”
With their home event now in the rearview mirror, the team will look ahead to making a return to the St. Mary’s Invitational on the Monterey Peninsula. NIU will make the west coast trek Monday, September 19 for a three round, two night stand at one of the world’s foremost golf destinations.
For more information on NIU men’s golf and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.