May 1, 2014
DEKALB, Ill. --The Northern Illinois University men’s golf team heads to Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel, Ind., this weekend to compete in the Mid-American Conference Championship. The 72-hole event begins on Friday, May 2, and continues through to Sunday, May 4.
“We have the least experienced team going to the conference championship, but as I have said all along it is a really talented group that continues to get better every time we tee it up,” said NIU head coach Tom Porten. “I’m looking forward to learning this golf course, we have done as much work as we could to figure it out and ultimately I think it is a golf course that our players are going to like and we are going to perform well on.
“From what we know about the golf course it could fit the strengths of our players. I think it will reward length and put scoring clubs in our hands. We have done a lot of work getting our 120 yards and in game up to speed and, most importantly, we putted the ball a lot better at Purdue than we had all year, and from what we are told these will be similar types of green complexes. We just want to go get off to a fast start and see what that 36-hole day can do for us.”
Opened in 1997, the Robert Trent Jones designed Prairie View Golf Club is hosting the MAC Championship for the first time. A par-72, 7,073-yard layout, Prairie View is consistently rated among the top courses in Indiana and has hosted nearly all of the major Indiana PGA and Indiana Golf Association championships.
Last time out at the Boilermaker Invitational, NIU tied for 12th overall, posting its best round of the season with a 296 in the second round. One of four MAC schools in the field in West Lafayette, the Huskies finished tied with Miami (Ohio), and ahead of Toledo, in the final regular season event of the year.
Freshman Jake Curwin (Faribault, Minn./Shattuck St. Mary’s) finished with a season-best 220 at Purdue, tying for 16th overall, the best finish of his collegiate career. Junior Liam White (Waukegan, Ill./Carmel Catholic/Indian Hills CC) also had his best finish as a Huskie, carding a three-round total of 221, tied for 22nd.
Joining Curwin and White at the MAC Championship will be a trio of freshmen as Caulen Coe (Gulf Stream, Fla./University of Nebraska Independent School), Raphael Denais (Saint-Aventin, France/Lycee Ste Ursule) and Pierrick Fillon (Voreppe, France/Lycee Pierre Beghin) round out the NIU lineup at Prairie View.
“Liam and Jake’s trend the last month, in particular in the final regular season event at Purdue, has been very positive,” said Porten. “Caulen has practiced very well over the last week, has made some good improvements and started to get back on track. The same with Raphael, he had a bit of a back injury and now he is healthy again.
“With four freshmen and a junior you are always worried about emotion getting the best of them but they have played together for the bulk of the season, so I don’t really like to call them freshmen anymore. They are battle-tested and I think they are going to play really well.”
Friday’s opening 36 holes begins at 7:30 a.m. CT, 8:30 a.m. local, and the Huskies will be paired with Miami and Ohio. Saturday’s third round and Sunday’s final round will both begin at 6:50 a.m. CT, 7:50 a.m. local, and live stats are available via BirdieFire.com.