March 15, 2014
DEKALB, Ill. – The Northern Illinois University men’s golf team will close its spring break trip in the Talis Park Challenge, hosted by Ball State, at the Talis Park Golf Club in Naples, Fla. The 54-hole event will begin on Sunday, March 16 and continued on Monday, March 17.
“We are really lucky to be in this event, hosted by Ball State, a conference school,” said NIU head coach Tom Porten. “It is a phenomenal golf course, probably in as good a condition as any golf course we have ever been on. There is virtually no rough, so the fairway are very generous, there is lots of water and the greens are very fast and very firm. We spent a lot of time on and around the greens today, trying to get comfortable with the surfaces.”
The Huskies and host Ball State will be joined in the 14-team field by: Austin Peay, Cincinnati, Eastern Michigan, Florida Gulf Coast, Indiana, IUPUI, Miami (Ohio), Notre Dame, Toledo, Vanderbilt, Wichita State and Xavier. Porten likes that the field has a number of conference opposition.
“I feel like this is a tournament where we will get a better read on either how far we have come or how far we have to go. With a heavy influence of conference schools, Ball State, Eastern Michigan, Miami, we like our chances to position ourselves for a good finish after the first day.
Coming off a 12th-place finish last weekend at the General Hackler Championship in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Porten has liked what he has seen this week during practice as the Huskies were able to spend spring break in the south.
“We had a couple of terrific days of practice on the east coast of Florida and then came over here last night. I feel like we are ready to right the ship from last weekend. We played with Mr. Rich on Friday morning in Delray Beach and shot a 289, one-over par, as a team. We made a bunch of birdies and really started to gel, so we are looking for good things tomorrow.”
NIU will use the same lineup as last week as four freshmen, Caulen Coe (Gulf Stream, Fla./University of Nebraska Independent School), Jake Curwin (Faribault, Minn./Shattuck St. Mary’s), Pierrick Fillon (Voreppe, France/Lycee Pierre Beghin) and Raphael Denais (Saint-Aventin, France/Lycee Ste Ursule) will be joined by junior Liam White (Waukegan, Ill./Carmel Catholic/Indian Hills CC) on the 7,025-yard Talis Park Golf Club course.
NIU will be paired with Notre Dame and Austin Peay in Sunday’s opening two rounds, which will begin with a shotgun start at 7:30 a.m. CT (8:30 a.m. ET), play will continue on Monday with the final round, also beginning with a shotgun start at 7:30 a.m. CT (8:30 a.m. ET). Live scoring will be available at birdiefire.com.