The Huskies have invited the strongest field of collegiate programs that Rich Harvest Farms has seen since the 2007 NCAA Regional.
Six teams in the GolfWeek/Sagarin Rankings Top 50 (No. 19 Virginia, No. 22 UCF, No. 28 Liberty, No. 35 St. Mary’s, No. 38 Indiana, No. 44 Augusta State) will descend on Sugar Grove, Ill., this weekend. Iowa State, Michigan State, Purdue and Mid-American Conference rival Ball State will round out the tee times.
“As always, we would like to thank the Rich Family,” said NIU head coach Tom Porten.
“We are grateful for their support and growing this event in year two. We have three teams that made it to the national finals last year and six nationally ranked teams in the field. It’s a great way to start our season at home, on our golf course, one of the top golf courses in the country.”
NIU enters the tournament coming off a 2011-12 campaign that saw them finish seventh at the season-ending MAC Championships at Rich Harvest Farms. The team will look to build on the momentum they built in the spring, when they pieced together top-10 finishes in five of their six events.
“Senior leadership is what is going to carry the day for us with Griffin, Greg and Kurtis. We had a great week of practice and qualifying last week. The conditions are supposed to be windy and cool which is right up our alley, so I’m looking for a good start and hopefully a great finish.”
Bauman (Crystal Lake, Ill./Central) finished last season with a tie for 33rd at the MAC Championships at Rich Harvest Farms. Bauman finished third on the team in scoring average at 75.3 last season and will look to improve on his 48th-place finish showing in this event a year ago.
Joining Bauman at the helm is senior Luedtke (Aurora, Ill./West), who matched Bauman’s 75.3 scoring average last season en route to his most successful campaign to date. Luedtke posted his first top 10, a tie for eighth, at the COG Mizzou Intercollegiate in April. The Aurora native tied for 61st in last year’s Northern Intercollegiate.
Senior Pohlmann (Decatur, Ill./Lakeview) earned a tee time in Sugar Grove this weekend by virtue of his strong play in qualifying. Pohlmann, a grinder playing in his seventh tournament for NIU this weekend, tied for 56th at the 2011 Northern Intercollegiate.
Sophomore Schiavi (Barrington, Ill./Barrington) and junior Foley (Pewaukee, Wis./Waukesha North) fill out the rest of NIU’s starting lineup. Sophomore Nick Huggins (Marietta, Ohio/Marietta) and senior Paul Hammerschmidt (Westerville, Ohio/Westerville Central) are competing as individuals.
The team will be challenging a familiar foe, its home track of Rich Harvest Farms. The host of the 2009 Solheim Cup, Rich Harvest Farms will be a formidable foe for this week’s field.
The par four second will be one to watch this weekend.
Normally a par five, it has been changed to a four for this event. Players will look to hit a long drive in the fairway to give them just an opportunity to hit this green in regulation. A risk-reward pond guards the putting surface, forcing players to make the decision to go for it, or try to get up-and-down with a second-shot layup. Either way, the hole sets the tone early on one of the most demanding courses any team will have on their slate this year.
The first players will tee off at 7:27 a.m. Saturday in the first of two rounds scheduled for the day. Sunday’s final 18 holes are also scheduled to begin at 7:27 a.m. Fans can track the tournament on golfstat.com.
For more information on NIU men’s golf and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.