Freshman Thomas Dunne (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman) is tied for fourth-place individually as the Northern Illinois men’s golf team is tied for sixth with Bowling Green following Saturday’s first two rounds of the Boilermaker Invitational at the Kampen Course on the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex.
Dunne carded a second round 66, helping the Huskies post a 36-hole team score of 597. Kent State and Iowa lead the team competition at 587, Wichita State’s Rafel Becker leads individually with a two-round total of 140.
“I just can’t say enough about Thomas Dunne,” said NIU head coach Tom Porten.
“He was three-over with two holes to play in the morning and went triple-bogey, bogey to go from 75 to 79. He was disappointed and I just told him he did a lot of things right, despite the final score. In the afternoon he came out so strong. I think he is the leading candidate for Freshman of the Year in the MAC. Anytime you can shoot 66 on a course that has hosted the national championship, Big Ten Championships, it is impressive.”
After a morning round of 79, Dunne fired six birdies and an eagle en route to a second round six-under 66. Three-straight birdies on two, three and four but Dunne at three-under through his first six holes before an eagle on seven pushed him to five-under. Bogies on nine and 10 brought him back to three-under but Dunne responded immediately with a birdie on No. 11. He finished his round with birdies on 14 and 15 to complete the best round of his NIU career.
Dunne began the second round tied for 50th before moving up 46 spots into a tie for fourth, his 66 was the best round of the season for the Huskies, bettering junior Bryce Emory’s (Aurora, Ill./Marmion Academy) final round 67 at the UCF Rio Pinar Invitational.
For the day, Dunne tied for the most birdies in the tournament with nine, he was also tied for the best par-three scoring average at 2.75.
Junior Griffin Bauman (Crystal Lake, Ill./Central) opened with a morning round of 73 to lead the Huskies.
Starting on the 16th hole, Bauman was three-over through No. 2 before pulling back a pair of shots with back-to-back birdies on six and seven. Another birdie on 10 brought him back to even but Bauman lost that shot right back on the par-four 11th.
In the afternoon round, Bauman was three-over through his sixth hole, No. 3, but worked his way back to even-par with a birdie on the par-four seventh and an eagle on the par-four eighth. A couple of bogies on the way in gave Bauman a two-over 74 on his second round of the day; he is currently tied for 11th.
“Griffin is as fierce of a competitor as I have ever coached,” Porten said. “He just battled every shot and usually comes out with one of the better scores on our team. I’m proud of him, he has really turned into a very good college player and he continues to take it up another level.
Junior Kurtis Luedtke (Aurora, Ill./West) got off to a tough start, dropping three shots in his first two holes of the day. After making the turn back to the front nine, Luedtke got back to one-over with a birdie on the par-five fourth. He couldn’t keep that momentum however, dropping both of those shots to finish at three-over.
In the afternoon, Luedtke carded a four-over 76 and is currently in a tie for 29th.
Emory and junior Paul Hammerschmidt (Westerville, Ohio/Westerville Central) each finished the 36-hole day with total scores of 156 and are currently tied for 52nd. Sophomore Shawn Foley (Pewaukee, Wis./Waukesha North), playing as an individual, is tied for 41st with a two-round total of 154.
Sunday’s final round will begin with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. CT. The Huskies will be paired with Wichita State and Indiana for the final 18 holes.
For more information on NIU men’s golf and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.