Men's Golf: Losole carries Wildcats in Illini Invitational
October 3, 2012
Northwestern continued its strong start to the season with a top half finish in the Fighting Illini Invitational on Tuesday.
The Wildcats' sixth place finish was their worst this season, but senior Nick Losole picked up his third top 10 placement in as many events, finishing five shots behind the winner to tie for second.
"We still need to find our five best players and continue to improve every day," coach Pat Goss tweeted after the tournament. "We will get back to work on Wednesday!"
Losole's final round 71 was the best of the day for the Cats, who shot their worst score of the tournament in the third round, dropping from a tie for third into their final position in sixth place. It was a marked improvement from last season, when NU finished 15th out of 15 teams at the tournament and did not place a single golfer in the top 40.
"We were disappointed in how we played (Tuesday)," Losole said. "We're disappointed with a T-6, but it was our best finish at the tournament since I've been here."
The Fighting Illini Invitational has one of the stronger fields in the country and is a tournament NU typically struggles with. The Cats beat four ranked teams in this year's event, making 2012 their best finish since landing fourth in 2006.
Losole took the lead after the first round Sunday with a 68. He was the only player under par after the first 18 holes. After shooting a 73, including a triple bogey, Monday to drop into a tie for fifth, Losole made a charge Tuesday with two bogeys and a birdie to card his one-over-par 71.
His downfall was the fifth and sixth holes, which tied for the toughest hole on the course Tuesday at .51 strokes over par. He came back with a birdie on the 11th, which played the easiest on the golf course, but he missed opportunities to gain more strokes on the easy 13th and 18th holes. Leading the field with 42 pars on 54 holes, his triple bogey on the sixth hole was his only colossal mistake of the tournament. However, he was able to regain his composure and shot even par the rest of the way.
"It's a narrow green that sits on a plateau," he said. "Part of me was trying to do too much with the shot and I hit it too hard. You just have to take it one shot at a time."
Jack Perry carded a solid round of 73 Tuesday to tie for 17th place. The junior placed in the top 10 in NU's first two events, but his runs of bogeys haunted him all week. On Tuesday, Perry hit a beautiful wedge shot on the first hole and put a birdie on the scorecard, but then had five bogeys in the next 16 holes before getting a birdie on the last hole to shoot three over par. On Sunday, he hit four bogeys in a six hole stretch en route to a four-over-par 74.
Freshman Andrew Whalen was in a tie for 23rd two rounds after shooting a 72 and 7.4, but he stumbled Tuesday, shooting an 11-over-par 81 and falling into a tie for 46th.
NU's poor finish after starting out so well could be a cause for concern. However, Losole said the team has all the physical talent to compete with any team in the country and must work on keeping its mind sharp.
"It's just repetition," Losole said. "It's our third tournament in a row so it can mentally wear you down. We need to work on maintaining a high level of focus on each shot."