May 4, 2014
CARMEL, Ind. -- The Northern Illinois University men’s golf team finished the Mid-American Conference Championship with its best round of the tournament, 299, in Sunday’s final round at Prairie View Golf Club. Two Huskies claimed top-20 finishes, with freshman Caulen Coe (Gulf Stream, Fla./University of Nebraska Independent School) tying for 13th and junior Liam White (Waukegan, Ill./Carmel Catholic/Indian Hills CC) tying for 17th as NIU finished ninth overall.
Despite a 303 on Sunday, the highest total in the field, Kent State earned the team title with a three-over total of 1,155. Corey Conners of the Golden Flashes claimed medalist honors with an 11-under total of 277, capped by a 73 on Sunday.
“You are always disappointed when you can’t move forward as a team,” said NIU head coach Tom Porten. “But individually we saw Raphael (Denais) move from the back of the field into the middle and Liam (White) move up into the top-20, his final three rounds were outstanding, as well as Caulen (Coe) who struggled a little bit with the putter and had some nerves today. Overall his performance was really strong. He ended the year playing his most complete tournament and showed what he is capable of.
“As a team, there always seemed to be one hole that would get us and today it was No. 14. We were 11-over as a team and five-over on that hole alone. Outside of that, and a few miscues with the putter, we didn’t play that poorly.”
Freshman Raphael Denais (Saint-Aventin, France/Lycee Ste Ursule) carded the round of the day for the Huskies, firing a one-under 71 to move up nine places into a tie for 26th. Denais was two-under on the front nine with birdies on the first and sixth, along with seven pars. Denais had another pair of birdies on the back nine as he recorded his best round of the tournament.
White also posted his best round of the weekend with an even-par 72. After recording eight pars and a bogey on the front nine, White collected a pair of birdies, along with six more pars, in his second nine to move up eight positions and finish tied for 17th.
Coe opened the inside the top-10 and had a strong opening nine holes, carding two birdies en route to a one-under 35. A second nine 42 slipped Coe back into a tie for 13th overall, but was still his second-best tournament finish of the season.
“I think that our team has gotten better,” said Porten. “It hasn’t shown up as much as we would have hoped in the scoring side of things but they are all making progress as players and a couple of them have a chance to be outstanding in their second year with us. Our freshman got a lot of invaluable experience this year and that is going to serve them well this summer and when they come back to us in the fall.”
The Huskies saw their season come to an end with the MAC Championship, but NIU will host an NCAA Regional, May 15-17, at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill. The field for the Sugar Grove Regional, and the rest of the NCAA Championship, will be announced tomorrow morning on the Golf Channel at 9 a.m. CT.
1. Kent State, +3, 286-284-282-303 -- 1155
2. Akron, +13, 284-291-300-290 -- 1165
3. Toledo, +16, 293-286-297-292 -- 1168
4. Eastern Michigan, +25, 284-300-303-290 -- 1177
7. Miami, +40, 302-296-307-287 -- 1192
6. Bowling Green, +42, 296-295-309-294 -- 1194
5. Ball State, +43, 292-298-302-303 -- 1195
8. Ohio, +54, 304-299-304-299 -- 1206
9. NIU, +61, 308-301-305-299 -- 1213
Huskie Team Standings
T13. Caulen Coe, +8, 74-71-74-77 -- 296
T17. Liam White, +11, 79-74-74-72 -- 299
T26. Raphael Denais, +14, 75-78-78-71 -- 302
T43. Jake Curwin, +28, 80-78-79-79 -- 316
45. Pierrick Fillon, +39, 84-80-82-81 -- 327