Feb. 10, 2013
Match Play Bracket l Live Updates
DEKALB, Ill. – The Northern Illinois men's golf team will open the 2013 spring season on Monday, Feb. 11, when it begins competition at the Mid-American Match Play at the South Course at the Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club in Dade City, Fla. The Huskies will begin with a matchup against Akron in the first round beginning at 8 a.m. ET on Monday morning.
Eight of the nine schools in the MAC will participate in the match play event, with only Kent State not appearing in the Sunshine State. In the second round, scheduled for Monday afternoon, NIU will play either Toledo or Bowling Green. The final round of the tournament is scheduled to begin on Tuesday morning, Feb. 12, at 8 a.m.
NIU finished third in last year’s event, knocking off Toledo and Miami while dropping their semi-final match to eventual champion Ball State. The tournament is perennially NIU’s only non-stroke play competition on the schedule.
“It’s as wide-open as you can get because of the format,” NIU head coach Tom Porten said. “It’s not scoring average, or adding up your low four. This is strictly man-to-man match play; six-on-six. Last year we were almost a tiebreaker away from winning the whole thing, and we weren’t one of the top seeds.”
The lineups for the event are determined by each player’s GolfWeek ranking, with the team’s highest ranked golfer playing out of the top position. The Huskies will be led by redshirt senior Griffin Bauman (Crystal Lake, Ill./Central), joined by sophomore Nick Schiavi (Barrington, Ill./Barrington), freshman Nick Huggins (Marietta, Ohio/Marietta), junior Shawn Foley (Pewaukee, Wis./Waukesha North), senior Matt Gorman (Waunakee, Wis./Waunakee) and senior Kurtis Luedtke (Aurora, Ill./West).
“There’s a depth there that I like and an experience factor; having a senior in the one spot and a senior in the sixth spot, and a myriad of sophomores and juniors in between,” Porten said. “I think it gives us more experience than anybody besides Ball State.”
Griffin Bauman was the only Huskie to notch a perfect 3-0 in last year’s edition of the event. In fact, Bauman hasn’t yet played the 18th hole during competition, as he closed out his trio of opponents before reaching the course’s last par four. Once his fall campaign is factored in, one cannot help but recognize Bauman as one of the MAC’s biggest threats at this event.
Nick Huggins will be making his collegiate match play debut on Monday, but the sophomore is poised to make a splash at Lake Jovita. The Marietta, Ohio product competed in four of the Huskies’ five fall events, posting both his first top-five finish and the team’s second best scoring average (75.8). Huggins will be playing out of the number three position on Coach Porten’s lineup card.
“They’re really excited about the chance to go down there and start the season off on the right foot, as well as get some momentum started for the spring,” Porten said. “You’re going to get a good look at what the conference is like heading into the championship stretch. I think we’re as good as anyone in the conference that’s down there – now we just have to prove it.”