Men's golf finishes sixth at home

Junior Thomas DeMarco hits a shot during the Northern Intercollegiate Monday. The Huskies finished sixth place overall. 

A second round score of 65 and an eighth place overall finish from junior Thomas DeMarco (65-75-72 - 212) led the way for the men’s golf team in their sixth place overall finish Sunday and Monday at the Northern Intercollegiate.

This was the first event held at NIU’s home course of Rich Harvest Farms since the 2017 Division One NCAA Championships in May.

The Huskies shot a five-under score of 283 in round one but were not able to keep the momentum going in rounds two and three, shooting a 293 in both off those rounds.

Head Coach Tom Porten said the team played well this week but has yet to realize their potential.

“We just keep getting closer and closer to being the team that [the coaching staff] and I see us as being,” Porten said. “Sixth place is not what we hoped for but we beat [some good teams]. Were playing power five conferences pretty tough.”

The Huskies were led by DeMarco and an even par finish from redshirt senior Joo-Young Lee, who finished in the top 25 individually. Lee (72-69-75 - 215) shot three under par in his second round contributing to his finish.

Porten said he enjoyed seeing DeMarco play well and looks forward to his season.

“[DeMarco] did not miss a shot in his first round,” Porten said. “He was fantastic [throughout the tournament. We are seeing him take a step forward and we are really excited about his talent and his contribution to our team.”

The Huskies also got a breakout performance from sophomore Michael Mattas, who finished only two shots behind Lee while competing as an individual. Mattas carded a second round score of 68, the lowest score from the NIU for the tournament.

“I got to walk [with Mattas] on the last five holes and he [played well],” Porten said. “Last year he had trouble figuring out how to play [Rich Harvest Farms] so for him to come out [and play well], it shows the progress and all of the work he has put in. He played his way into our lineup for next week.”

Porten said the team needs to find some consistency in the last couple spots in the lineup in order to be competitive in future events.

“We just need [someone] to take hold of those four and five spots,” Porten said. “It doesn’t matter who because their all very good. If we do that, we’ll really have some continuity [as a team].”

The team will continue their season at Erin Hills Golf Club, the host of the 2017 U.S Open Championship June 15-18.

The next event for the men’s golf team will be the Erin Hills Intercollegiate Sunday in Erin, Wisconsin.