Stricker outgolfs Tryba in NIU-hosted tourney

By Bob Regan

It was a matter of who would make the first mistake in the final round of the 1989 NIU/Miller Lite Midwestern Invitational held at Kishwaukee Country Club over the weekend.

University of Illinois’ Steve Stricker carried a two-stroke lead over Ohio State’s Ted Tryba going into the last day. However, Wisconsin’s Dan Wuensche held the 36-hole lead by firing rounds of 68-69. But after the front nine of the final round, Wuensche was his own enemy by hitting one too many errant shots. That left Sticker and Tryba in the driver’s seat.

Both players carded three-under par 67’s, which gave defending champion Stricker medalist honors again. Stricker’s rounds of 68-70-67 helped ease the frustration of a less-than-desireable spring the senior was having.

“I had been struggling a little bit,” Stricker said. “So this is a good tournament for me and the team. We have two more tournaments this season and this win gives me some more confidence. I haven’t been hitting my putts well lately but a couple were dropping today.”

Despite Sticker’s fine play, Ohio State took top honors as a team. All five of the Buckeye players finished among the top 25 individuals in the 75-player field.

“This is a big tournament for us,” said Buckeye head coach Jim Brown. “This gives us momentum going into the Big Ten tournament. We haven’t been playing well. We’d get into position to win a tournament and maybe this win will help get us over the hump.”

Brown said that this was the first time Stricker had beaten Tryba. Tryba has won three tournaments this season.

The NIU contingent of players finished in 11th place out of the 15 competing schools. Rick Stewart (74-74-70=218) was low Huskie and tied for eighth place with six other players including OSU’s Gary Nicklaus. NIU finished ahead of Minnesota, Purdue, Notre Dame and Southern Illinois.

With Tryba threatening to take control of the tournament, Stricker got his act together at the 389-yard ninth hole. Stricker sank a wedge shot from the greenside rough for birdie.

Stricker helped his cause even more by hitting his approach on the 432-yard 10th hole to within 10 feet and draining his putt for another birdie. However, Tryba fought back by hitting a career shot from the trees on the 11th hole to about eight feet and made the putt for birdie. Stricker made pars and one birdie the rest of the way in, while Tryba added a birdie to go along with a mixture of pars and bogeys.

The sub-par totals of Stricker and Tryba made history. Meet director Jim Besenfelder said that this was the first time anyone broke par for 36 and 54 holes at Kishwaukee C.C.