Feb. 28, 2014
DEKALB, Ill. -- The Northern Illinois University men’s golf team opens the spring portion of its schedule on Saturday, March 1, when the Huskies travel to Augusta, Ga., to compete in the one-day, 36-hole Forest Hills Collegiate at Forest Hills Golf Club.
The seven-team event is hosted by Georgia Regents University Augusta, formerly Augusta State, the 2010 and 2011 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf national championships. Also in Saturday’s field are Gardner-Webb, North Carolina Central, Stetson, USC Upstate and Youngstown State.
“We had a nice weekend last weekend in Texas training and getting to see some ball flight,” said NIU head coach Tom Porten. “We are very anxious to see if that translates as we go back to Augusta, where we had a nice showing last year. We love going to Augusta, it’s a great golf course, and having the opportunity for our very young team to get back into competition is exciting.”
Last season, NIU finished second at the Forest Hills Collegiate, posting a 36-hole team total of 586; none of the players from that group will be back in the five-man team for the Huskies this season however.
NIU will field a lineup featuring four freshmen and one junior in the Forest Hills Collegiate. Freshman Jake Curwin (Faribault, Minn./Shattuck St. Mary’s) won qualifying and will lead the Huskies this weekend, joined by junior Liam White (Waukegan, Ill./Carmel Catholic/Indian Hills CC) and freshmen Caulen Coe (Gulf Stream, Fla./University of Nebraska Independent School), Pierrick Fillon (Voreppe, France/Lycee Pierre Beghin) and Raphael Denais (Saint-Aventin, France/Lycee Ste Ursule). Denais is making his collegiate debut after joining the Huskies in January.
Rounding out the group headed to August is senior Shawn Foley (Pewaukee, Wis./Waukesha North) who will play as an individual.
The Forest Hills Golf Club is a Donald Ross design, built in 1926. GRU Augusta’s home course has played host to golf greats from Bobby Jones to Phil Mickelson, with the latter winning there in 1989. The par 72 course plays to a yardarge of 7,140 yards.
“It is a second-shot golf course,” Porten said of Forest Hills. “There is an occasional pine tree in the way off the tee, but if we can give our guys some of the blueprint that we used last year, keeping the ball below the hole, putting up to the hole, you can have so much less stress on your short game and putter.
“It is better to be in the front bunker than to be on the back on the green in some cases because the greens are similar to Augusta National, so if you can stay below the hole and putt up to every flag you are going to make a lot of birdies and pars.”
Saturday’s play begins with a shotgun start and continuous play at 7:30 a.m. CT, 8:30 a.m. local time in Augusta. Live scoring will not be available.