Men’s golf finishes in last

By Steve Shonder

Men’s golf failed to stay out of last place for the second tournament in a row.

Over the weekend, the Huskies (314, 320, 315, 949) finished 15th out of 15 teams at the Wolf Run Intercollegiate in Zionsville, Ind. No. 6 Illinois (285, 287, 287, 859) won its fifth-straight title at the tournament, taking a commanding lead in the first round and never looking back.

Head coach Tom Porten said there were some positives in the Huskies’ play, but they didn’t outweigh the negatives.

“There was some definite progress,” Porten said. “The team score speaks for itself. We need to have more players executing to move up on the scoreboard.”

The second round was suspended late Saturday when storms entered the area.

The Huskies finished behind four MAC rivals — Miami (Ohio) (297, 306, 306, 909), Eastern Michigan (297, 313, 310, 920), Akron (309, 308, 314, 930) and Ball State (308, 314, 317, 939) — making it the second consecutive tournament when they were unable to finish ahead of a MAC team.

Junior Nick Huggins (78, 77, 78, 233) bounced back from a poor showing at the Northern Intercollegiate Sept. 5-7 by leading NIU with its best score. Huggins finished tied for 48th best overall score.

Porten said he didn’t like the way the Huskies started, but he was pleased with the way they finished, especially given the windy conditions the final two rounds were played under.

“We had a better start” Saturday, Porten said. “In the last two rounds, there were some rough conditions.”

Sophomore Raphael Denais (78, 79, 82, 239) put together a good effort in the first two rounds before falling apart in the third round Sunday. Junior Jordan Wetsch (78, 90, 75) had the exact opposite results in the third round, finishing four over par. His performance Sunday was good enough to leapfrog him 12 spots in the rankings to finish tied for 71st.

“Wetsch and [Huggins] did really well,” Porten said. “On the flipside, we didn’t get any performance from [Joo-Young Lee], our freshman Patrick Murphy really struggled and [Denais] … struggled on the greens. The coaching staff has to do a better job of preparing the team to play on harder courses.”

Sophomore Pierrick Fillon (79, 83, 82, 244) competed once again as an individual, but he was unable to match his performance level from the Northern Intercollegiate as he fell off in the second and third rounds.

Porten said Wolf Run was one of the most challenging courses he’s seen and it showed on the scoreboard.

“The field was pretty strong; there was a strong contingent of Big Ten teams and some MAC teams,” Porten said. “Outside of Illinois, the golf course really was the winner versus the field.”