Sept. 30, 2011
DEKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois men's golf team will go back to Normal this week at Illinois State's D.A. Weibring Intercollegiate on Saturday, Oct. 1 and Sunday, Oct. 2.
The trip downstate will mark the second consecutive season that the Huskies will be competing in ISU's annual event. NIU will look to improve on last October's eighth place performance against three power conference programs and a flurry of mid-majors. Joining the Huskies on the course this weekend will be Akron, Arkansas State, Bradley, Detroit Mercy, Illinois, Illinois State, Missouri State, Nebraska, Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, West Florida, Western Illinois and Wisconsin.
"We are very anxious to get down to Illinois State to see if we can backup and confirm what we did last week at Louisville and develop a pattern of consistency," NIU head coach Tom Porten said. "We had a decent performance in our opener, a disappointing trip to California and then we played our best tournament since I've been here, start-to-finish, at Louisville. We have had a good week of practice, albeit a short one."
Though Northern Illinois will be without their leading finisher at this tournament last season, departed senior Jeff Dick, they will have two holdovers from that tournament. Those two also happen to be the team's hottest players at the moment - Shawn Foley and Bryce Emory.
Foley is returning to Normal hot on the heels of a top-10 finish at the Cardinal Intercollegiate last weekend. The sophomore tied for sixth in Louisville to continue his domination of the par-72 Cardinal Club layout. All signs point to Foley, owner of the team's third-lowest scoring average (75.2), to better the 88th-place showing he posted at ISU last year.
Emory has established himself early on this season as the team number-one player. The junior has finished as one of NIU's top-three finishers in each of the team's first three events. The Huskie scoring average leader (74.8) tied for 27th at ISU last October, which was his best career finish to that point. Emory will look to repeat that success this weekend.
In addition to Foley and Emory, Griffin Bauman, Thomas Dunne and Nick Schiavi will round out NIU's starting lineup. The Huskies will be challenging Weibring Golf Club, a par-71, 6,915-yard layout built in 1962. After a 2000 renovation, the course was dedicated to its new architect, ISU alumnus, and former PGA Tour player, D.A. Weibring.
"It will be the shortest golf course we play during the fall season," Porten said. "It is very straight-forward from tee to 20 yards in front of the green. From there, it has a lot of collection areas and chipping swales. The greens are raised slightly and, despite the rain recently, I understand the greens are firming up. There is very little rough around the greens; the ball tends to just run off into a swale."
Golfers will tee off with a shotgun start at 8:15 a.m. on Saturday to begin their first 36 holes. The tournament will conclude with a final 18 on Sunday.