Wilson Grabs Lead in Golf’s NCAA Central Regional; Cats 2nd in Team Event (men’s golf)

The Northwestern men’s golf team fired an impressive 3-under 281 in the first round of the NCAA Central Regional yesterday to finish in second place out of 27 teams.

Junior Chris Wilson carded a 4-under 67 to lead all 141 golfers in the field, continuing his strong play from his medalist honors at the Big Ten Championships three weeks ago. Wilson finished the day with four birdies and no bogeys.

Junior David Merkow shot a 3-under 68 and is in a four-way tie for second place. Like Wilson, Merkow finished the day without any bogeys.

Senior Dillon Dougherty rebounded after making a triple bogey on the second hole to shoot a 2-over 73. Sophomore Kyle Moore eagled the 401-yard, par-4 10th en route to his 2-over 73. Moore holed his second shot from outside 125 yards. Sophomore Dan Doyle also shot a 2-over 73. All three golfers stand in 35th place after the first round.

Oklahoma State, ranked second in the nation by Golfweek, is in first place after shooting a 4-under 280 in the first round. The Wildcats, No. 28 and seeded ninth in the regional, trail Oklahoma State by just one shot. No. 6 Texas A&M finished two shots back of NU and is in third place.

The two other top-10 teams in the field, No. 4 Georgia Tech and No. 8 Clemson, appeared to struggle in the opening round. Georgia Tech is in 12th place, 15 shots behind Oklahoma State, while Clemson is 13th place and 16 shots out of first. Both teams will need to improve their standing over the final two rounds if they want to advance to the NCAA National Championships. The top-10 teams in each region will advance.

The Cats begin their second round at 7:47 a.m. Friday.

– MICHAEL SCHLOSSBERG