March 15, 2013
DEKALB, Ill. – The Northern Illinois men’s golf team is setting off once again for Florida to compete in George Mason’s Mission Inn Spring Spectacular. The 54-hole event will take place Saturday, March 16 and Sunday, March 17 at the Mission Inn Club’s Las Colinas course.
Taking advantage of spring break week at Northern Illinois, Tom Porten and his Huskies have spent the week practicing in Florida prior to this weekend’s tournament.
“We have had a good week of practice,” said Porten. “The weather has been a bit un-Florida like; we have had a little bit of rain and a little bit of cool weather, but that has been good, allowing us to prepare for different conditions.”
NIU and host George Mason are two of the 18-team field at the Florida resort that also includes Appalachian State, Connecticut, Florida Atlantic, Hartford, Illinois, Indiana, Georgia State, Marquette, Morehead State, Murray State, Old Dominion, Purdue, Rutgers, Stetson, Towson, Virginia Tech and Western Illinois.
The Huskies enter the tournament with a swagger in their step, coming off a runner-up finish at the single-day Forest Hills Collegiate. Senior Bryce Emory (Aurora, Ill./Marmion Academy) had his best showing of the season on the Augusta, Ga. course with an even-par showing and a fifth-place finish. Emory earned MAC Golf of the Week honors for his efforts.
Redshirt senior Griffin Bauman (Crystal Lake, Ill./Central) nearly equaled Emory’s effort, finishing a stroke back in sixth. Additionally, senior Kurtis Luedtke (Aurora, Ill./West) posted his best effort since last April with a tie for 10th. Combined with his 3-0 record at last month’s MAC Match Play event, Luedtke is hitting on all cylinders. The three seniors helped NIU equal its best finish since Coach Porten took the helm.
“I’m excited to see if we can follow up how we played at Augusta State with a good performance this weekend,” said Porten. “The tournament has a good field, especially the top 5-6 teams, and we will have our work cut out for us.”
Rounding out NIU’s lineup on the spring break trip are junior Shawn Foley (Pewaukee, Wis./Waukesha North), sophomore Nick Schiavi (Barrington, Ill./Barrington) and freshman Connor Nelson (Roscoe, Ill./Hononegah), playing as an individual.
The Huskies will begin at 7:00 a.m. CT, Saturday with 36 holes, followed by a final 18 on Sunday. The Las Colinas course will play to 6,923 yards and par 72.