Sept. 29, 2013
MADISON, Wis. – Junior Nick Huggins (Marietta, Ohio/Marietta) carded a one-over 73 to claim a top-30 position as the Northern Illinois men’s golf team opened play at the Badger Invitational on Sunday.
After posting a season-low score in the final round at the Wolf Run Intercollegiate, NIU recorded its second consecutive low round of the year, posting a team total of 302 in Sunday’s first round to sit in 13th after the opening 18 holes.
“We started on the tougher nine and handled it pretty well,” said NIU head coach Tom Porten. “We played our first nine in five-over with zero double bogies, which is by far our best nine-hole round of the fall.
“I thought if we could match or maybe slightly improve that on our back nine we would be okay, unfortunately we went to from five-over to 16-over in the first four holes, but we battled back and made three birdies as a team coming in. While our standing as a team isn’t where we would like it to be we are close to the pack of teams that we feel we can be competitive with.”
South Carolina leads the team competition with a opening round total of 282, Caleb Sturgeon of the Gamecocks has the individual lead with a seven-under 65 in the opening 18 holes.
Carding his best round of the fall, Huggins is currently tied for 27th following his opening round 73.
Freshman Pierrick Fillon (Voreppe, France/Lycee Pierre Beghin) and junior Liam White (Waukegan, Ill./Carmel Catholic/Indian Hills CC) are just outside the top-50 after they both opened the tournament with 76, which is also a season-low round for both Huskies. Freshman Jake Curwin (Faribault, Minn./Shattuck St. Mary’s)is just a stroke behind Fillon and White after carding a 77 in Sunday’s opening 18 holes.
“Jake (Curwin) probably hit the ball better than anybody even though he was our highest counting score,” said Porten. “He hit 15 greens and if we can get him putting a little better, hitting his lag putts a little closer to the hole, he would be fine. We are looking forward to tomorrow and getting closer to the pack.”
Pared with Northern Kentucky and Wofford, the Huskies will tee off beginning at 9:45 a.m., on Monday in the second round, starting on the front nine.
1. South Carolina, -6, 282
2. USC Upstate, -2, 286
T3. Xavier, -1, 287
T3. UMKC, -1, 287
T3. Illinois State, -1, 287
T6. Austin Peay, +2, 290
T6. Kansas, +2, 290
8. Marquette, +3, 291
9. Charleston Southern, +4, 292
10. Wofford, +5, 293
11. Wisconsin, +7, 295
12. Rutgers, +10, 298
13. Northern Illinois, +14, 302
14. Northern Kentucky, +22, 310
Huskie Individual Standings
T27. Nick Huggins, +1, 73
T52. Liam White, +4, 76
T52. Pierrick Fillon, +4, 76
T58. Jake Curwin, +5, 77
74. Caulen Coe, +14, 86