April 29, 2009
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Northern Illinois men's golf team looks to finish its 2008-09 tournament schedule with a strong finish at the Mid-American Conference Championships beginning Thursday at the par 72, 6,994-yard Brickyard Crossing Golf Course in Indianapolis. Nine MAC men's golf teams will vie for the crown over 72 holes, with two rounds scheduled for Thursday and one each on Friday and Saturday.
Ranked among America's 100 Greatest Public Courses by Golf Digest Magazine, Brickyard Crossing is a Pete Dye-designed track that sits on the grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Four holes - numbers 7, 8, 9 and 10 - are located within the famed track's 2.5-mile oval.
Live scoring of the MAC Championships will be available at www.golfstat.com.
Northern Illinois' fivesome of juniors Andrew Frame (Manteno, Ill./Manteno HS), Tim Kay (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett HS) and Matt Triplett (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East HS), sophomore Jeff Dick (Sherman, Texas/Sherman HS) and freshman Max Hosking (Madison, Wisc./La Follette HS) will tee off beginning at 7:48 a.m. (CDT). The Huskies are paired with Ohio and Bowling Green for the first two rounds.
NIU Head Coach John Cleary said Northern Illinois is entering the MAC Championships in a good frame of mind after posting their best showing of the spring as the Huskies took 10th place in an 18-team field at the Boilermaker Invitational on April 18-19. In that event, Northern Illinois finished ahead of MAC schools Bowling Green and Toledo as well as 28th-ranked Michigan State.
"Our attitude is good," Cleary said. "We played well at Purdue so we've got some confidence going in. We've had some good practices in the last 8 to 10 days, so the guys are pretty confident. The tournament is four rounds, which is longer than the tournaments we play during the year, so we've got to be very patient, composed and remain confident throughout the whole four rounds."
The Huskies, as well as the rest of the field, may face an additional challenge on Thursday as rain is expected.
"They are expecting a lot of rain here tomorrow, so we'll be dealing with a lot of things," Cleary said. "Focus is going to be even more important, and we've got to try not to let the weather conditions affect us too much. If conditions are horrible, par will be a great score, the course has some birdie opportunities. "
Dick has been the Huskies' most consistent player this spring with a pair of top 20 and three top 30 individual finishes, while Frame has come on to play well in NIU's last two events - both played in the state of Indiana - with top 30 placings in each tournament. However, the seventh-year coach feels good about the quintet he will put on the course Thursday.
"We're a little deeper than we've been one through five, and have a team that is a little more consistent top to bottom," Cleary said. "Hopefully a couple of guys really step up and come through with some good rounds. They know what they have to do, and they've been working hard."
While recent champions Kent State and Eastern Michigan are the favorites going in to the competition, Cleary said there is a lot of parity among most of the teams in the MAC.
"[Eastern Michigan and Kent State] are the two teams to beat, but after that, three through nine is kind of up for grabs," he said. "We've played well at times, Miami has played well at times, Toledo has had some good tournaments and Akron had a good fall. Ball State might have a little bit of an advantage as some of their guys play here during the summer. We've got to play one shot, one hole, one round and take it from there."
-- NIU --
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