Men’s golf takes eighth in Normal

By James Krause

DeKALB — The men’s golf team looked for a high finish at the D.A. Weibring Intercollegiate, but the team struggled with high winds and finished in eight place, finishing 52-over-par.

Mother Nature did not show kindness to the Weibring Golf Club in Normal, with high wind gusts during rounds one and two on Saturday. Snow flurries and low temperatures affected play in the final round Sunday.

“We went into the tournament with higher expectations,” said Head Coach Tom Porten. “The weather conditions for the whole tournament were challenging.”

Porten said the team struggled early on in the first round Saturday, with rising wind speeds up to 20 miles an hour forcing NIU to play conservatively.

“We couldn’t get our ball on the fairway,” Porten said. “When you don’t get your ball on the fairway, you have to kind of play defense and just have to get your ball around the green and hope your short game can bail you out.”

The Huskies finished with 315 in the first round and 302 in the second round, putting them 49-over-par overall. The Huskies rallied back in the third round with 287, which tied for the second-best tally of the round, a score Porten said he was impressed by.

“We just didn’t adjust quickly enough to be able to stay near the lead [Saturday],” Porten said. “[Sunday], we did a great job. We handled the weather well across the board. I’m just glad that we kept getting better each and every round.”

The highest individual finish of the weekend for the Huskies was an 11th place tie for junior Matt Cholod (77-72-72–221), his highest finish in his collegiate career and his first top-20 finish at NIU. Porten said the finish could do wonders for Cholod’s confidence, which has been on the rise.

“Matt has been building momentum,” Porten said. “His iron play the last couple of weeks has been excellent and now his putting and his short game started to match up.”

Sophomore Michael Mattas (79-78-76–233) made his first career appearance in the spring golf season, finishing tied for 61st. Porten said he was happy to see Mattas get an opportunity to play in the rotation and liked to see improvement from him.

“Mike is a tough kid, and he did a nice job for us,” Porten said. “He’s a scrapper, and I think it’s good to see him get some experience.”

The team’s next tournament is April 9 at the Missouri Tiger Invitational at The Club at Old Hawthorne in Columbia, Missouri, where it hopes for better weather conditions.