Men’s golf has big Sunday

By Tom Burton

Senior has highest finish in his career

DeKALB — The Huskies shot a final round of 285 to earn a fifth-place finish, out of 13 teams, at the Florida Atlantic University Autism Invitational.

NIU (298-306-285 — 889) had the second lowest score in the field in Sunday’s final round.

After a tough second round Saturday, Tom Porten, head coach and director of golf, was happy with how the team responded to adversity by shooting a 285 in Sunday’s final round.

“I was very proud of the effort and outcome [Sunday],” Porten said, according to NIU Media Services. “We dug a hole [Saturday], and [Sunday,] we climbed out early and kept our momentum going. [Sophomore Salvador Rocha] and [senior Charlie Cameron] got us going early, and they were terrific. [Cameron] chipped in on his second hole and just kept going from there. [Rocha] converted an eagle on 14 and then hit quality shots on the back nine to close his 70 out. [Sophomore Thomas DeMarco] did a great job of battling back to get to even.”

The Huskies were led by Cameron (73-78-69 — 220) with an eighth-place individual finish, the best of Cameron’s career, followed by DeMarco (74-76-72 — 222), who finished two strokes behind Cameron.

The Huskies improved their team score by 21 shots from Saturday to Sunday due to making putts and following the game plan set by the coaching staff.

“Strategically, there are four or five tee shots you must hit in the right area, and I thought we had better course awareness [Sunday], Porten said. “We were pleased that our guys were able to dig out of a bad hole and move forward.”

Freshman Jorden Less (78-73-74 — 225) notched a top 25 finish and is beginning to solidify himself into the team’s everyday rotation.

Porten said the team needs to build better consistency as the Mid-American Conference, which happens April 28-30, and the NCAA Tournament, which happens May 26-May 31, are right around the corner.

“We can’t be as inconsistent [as we were this week] and expect to be competitive,” Porten said. “We need to continue to be consistent driving the golf ball and around the greens.”

Porten said he was specifically referring to the eight penalty shots the Huskies took in Saturday’s second round score of 306.

The team closed out its Florida stretch and will play their final regular season events in the Midwest in Missouri, Ohio and Indiana.

The team will begin that stretch April 10 at the Mizzou Intercollegiate in Columbia, Missouri.