Men’s golfers compete in tournaments during holiday break

Patrick Bruminhent took home first-place honors in tournament play in Thailand.

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Wes Sanderson

Freshman Ben Sluzas hits off on Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, California. NIU competed in the Saint Mary’s Invitational from Nov. 8 to Nov. 10, finishing in 17th place. (Wes Sanderson | Northern Star)

By Skyler Kisellus, Sports Reporter

DeKALB — As students took time off after the conclusion of the Fall 2021 semester, members of NIU’s men’s golf team spent the winter break on the green.

“I was pleased to see how many took the initiative and also to see how far ahead we are of last year at this time with the scores that the guys shot,” head coach John Carlson said.

Huskies draw at 33rd in the Sunshine State

Juniors Luc Warnock and Luke DeHaven were two of three players engaged in a tie for 33rd place at the Laurel Oak Series 1 in Sarasota, Florida.

The two players shot a score of 76 in their outings, each having a stroke count of four-over-par. The event was a one-day tournament, taking place on Jan. 10.

Cascino goes even in New Year’s tournament

Graduate student Michael Cascino spent four days of the winter break in warmer climates, competing for four days at the 2022 New Year’s Invitational in St. Petersburg, Florida. Cascino’s performance at the event left him in a five-way tie for 19th place.

The invitational differed from tournaments the Huskies competed in during the fall competition schedule, lasting four rounds as opposed to the usual three. Cascino’s best score came in the first and final rounds with a score of 70. The final statistics showed Cascino at even-par, 288, to close out the tournament on Jan. 3.

Arizona native lands top-20 at Saguaro Amateur

Senior Reece Nilsen finished the 2022 Saguaro Amateur Event tied for 15th place with four other competitors. Nilsen’s first-round performance proved to be his most successful, scoring 69 to open the tournament.

His opening-round score of 69 was accompanied by scores of 72 and 70 in the second and third rounds. The Tuscon, Arizona, native wrapped up tournament play on Jan. 5 with a final stroke count of five-under-par and scored 211 overall.

Sluzas holds his own in West Florida

Freshman Ben Sluzas was rewarded $525 in cash after tying for 13th place at the Florida Championship at the World Woods Golf Club in Brooksfield, Florida. The freshman from Lockport tied with former University of North Florida golfer Pete Kellerman, both finishing three-under-par.

“Ben Sluzas competed in probably the most highly-ranked field,” Carlson said. “A majority of these players were professionals. These players were All-Americans in college. He definitely had one of the strongest performances of the offseason.”

Sluzas notched scores of 66 and 73 during the two-day event, totaling for an overall score of 173 that translated into 5,350 points.

I was pleased to see how many took the initiative.”

— Head coach John Carlson

Bruminhent crowned champion in Thailand

Offseason performances by NIU golfers were topped off by freshman Patrick Bruminhent’s first-place finish at the Mae Moh National Thailand Junior Golf Club Championships.

Hailing from Lampang, Thailand, Bruminhent shot rounds of 75, 70 and 68 in a return to his hometown. The freshman finished tournament play at three-under-par.

“It really attested to the work he’s put in,” Carlson said. “I look forward to seeing him come back and having a month-and-a-half under his belt in Thailand. He should be well on his way to having a really solid spring.”

Preparing for springtime

With tournament play now in the books for the Huskies and the spring semester in motion, NIU will resume practices in preparation for their first competition of the calendar year.

“I’m mostly ready for the competitive practices and seeing who’s going to be our top five,” Carlson said. “Right now, I feel like we have six or seven guys that have competed pretty consistently. They’re all ready to compete for our team.”

The golfers will return to action for the Huskies on March 5 for the Desert Mountain Intercollegiate to open its spring competition schedule. The event will take place at Desert Mountain Club on Renegade Course in Scottsdale, Arizona.