Men’s golf takes eighth in Arizona

By Tom Burton

DeKALB — The men’s golf team finished in the middle of the pack Friday and Saturday with an eighth place finish at the Grand Canyon University Invitational.

The Huskies were in eighth place after the first two rounds and were unable to move up in the standings as they finished with a team score of 295 in Saturday’s final round, the highest of the weekend for NIU.

“Our progress is slow and steady,” said Head Coach Tom Porten. “We didn’t take advantage of opportunities, especially [Saturday]. We hit the ball very well to give ourselves a chance to score.”

The Huskies were led by redshirt senior Joo-Young Lee (70-71-74 — 215), who finished in the top 20 as an individual.

“Joo fought back really well in the final round,” Porten said. “We were excited to see him finish in the top 20.”

Porten said the team put itself in position to score, but was unable to capitalize on the chances it created for itself.

“It was missed opportunities and that’s what was frustrating for us because we felt like we had a good game plan, but we just couldn’t move up.”

NIU finished the tournament three shots behind Wichita State University. Porten said the team had a good chance to surpass them but couldn’t capitalize on chances.

“We played with them all day [Saturday] and kept hitting the ball inside them on the green but just couldn’t get the ball in the hole,” Porten said. “You can’t do anything for them other than help read the putts. Sometimes they hit good putts, sometimes they don’t.”

A score of 77 was the highest tallied by the Huskies all weekend. The Huskies finished fourth in the field on par 3’s, but it wasn’t enough to get into the top five.

“Everyone was just unable to make the key putt to stay around par,” Porten said. “When you’re playing California schools and a field like that, you can’t miss those opportunities.”

The Huskies will be back in action March 31 at the Illinois State Redbird Invitational at Weibring Golf Club in Normal, Illinois.