Subpar Wildcats continue poor play

Bernard Schwartz

The Northwestern men’s golf team struggled in its second tournament of the spring season, finishing 10th at the NCAA Puerto Rico Classic in Rio Mar, Puerto Rico.

The Wildcats flew south for the second consecutive week but once again weren’t a factor. NU finished 31 strokes behind first-place Georgia Tech, which held off Clemson by a stroke to claim the title.

Led by senior Luke Donald, who won last year’s Puerto Rico Classic, the No. 9 Cats shot a three-round total of 892, just two strokes behind ninth-place Colorado.

Donald struggled with an opening-round 76 but rebounded on Monday and Tuesday, shooting a 70 and a 68 to claim a share of fourth place.

Donald’s 2-under 214 put him two strokes behind Georgia Tech’s Bryce Molder, who finished third, four strokes behind runner-up Wilhelm Schauman of Minnesota, and nine strokes behind Clemson’s Lucas Glover, who won medalist honors at 11-under.

The Cats’ second-best finisher was sophomore Scott Harrington, whose 4-over 220 was good for a share of 22nd place. Freshman Tom Johnson tied for 28th place. Rounding out NU’s roster were junior Chris Thayer and senior David Shaffer, who finished 69th and 76th, respectively.

Puerto Rico played host to some of the nation’s best teams this week. According to the MasterCard rankings, eight Top 25 teams were playing, including the three best squads in the country – No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Georgia Tech. After Monday’s second round, just one stroke separated the three teams.

Meanwhile, NU continued to perform well below expectations. At last week’s Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship, the spring’s first tournament, the Cats took 12th place. Donald also paced NU at that tournament, finishing sixth.

The Cats do not compete again until the third week of March, when they travel to the Schenkel Invitational in Statesboro, Georgia.