June 22, 2010
DeKALB, Ill. - Matt Triplett and Andrew Frame were among the top four finishers yesterday at Oak Grove Golf Course in Harvard, Ill. as they qualified for next month's prestigious 2010 United States Golf Association (USGA) Amateur Public Links Championship.
For the Northern Illinois men's golf program, this marks the third time in the last four years that NIU has had a Huskie qualify for USGA Amateur Public Links Championship. For Frame, it's the second year in a row that he's made the grade. All of which make NIU head coach Tom Porten proud of where his program is heading.
"The bottom line for our program is we want our players to compete on a national level," Porten said. "This is the goal of our program because it's a sign that we are moving in the right direction with the quality of kids in our program. We want to be competitive and go to these national events on an annual basis.
"It's always an honor to have players go through the qualifying stages and make it to the national championship. We'll see where they go from there, but this is what we want. I was hoping for this and now we are definitely making strong strides toward becoming a more competitive program. This is what we are trying to build and it's a very good sign for our program."
Fresh off his final season as a Huskie, Triplett took the top spot in the 90-man field after he shot a first round 70 (-1) and finished with a 71 (E). The St. Charles, Ill. native's 141 (-1) stroke total won the USGA Amateur Public Links Qualifying event by one stroke and put him three ahead of Frame's 144 (+2).
"Matt played really good golf over the last few weeks of the season," Porten said. "It's nice to see it carrying over for him."
Despite a redshirt season in 2009-10, Frame has kept his game in tune with a third-place finish on Monday. The fifth-year senior stumbled a bit in the first round with a stroke total of 75 (+4). The round could have been even worse for the Manteno, Ill. native as he stood six over par through 17 holes and was nearly out of competition for a qualifying spot, but he eagled the 18th hole to get back on track. Frame then carried that momentum into the final round, shooting four under on the first 13 holes to finish with a 69 (-2), which was tied for the second lowest round of the qualifier at the par 71, 6,860-yard course.
Frame's day wasn't finished just yet. Four others finished with a 144 to force a five-way playoff for the final two qualifying spots. However, Frame did not waste any time by sinking a 15-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to claim the first spot up for grabs.
"In Andrew's case, it's a return for him," said Porten. "He did this last year, qualified through stroke play, got to match play, and won his first matchup. That [eagle] kick started his momentum and he turned his round completely around. He shook that rust off from sitting out the season and got into a groove at the end of the first round and it continued all the way through the playoff."
The two Huskies move on to the 2010 USGA Amateur Public Links Championship in Greensboro, N.C. on July 12-17. The event will be played at the par 71 Champions Course at Bryan Park, which at 7,195 yards, will be the second-longest course in the championship's history.
For complete results of the tournament, visit www.cdga.org and come back to www.niuhuskies.com in July for information on Frame and Triplett at the 2010 USGA Amateur Public Links Championship.