Doyle Leads Wildcats To Tie For 2nd (Men’s Golf)

Liana B. Baker

By Liana B. BakerThe Daily Northwestern

Northwestern overcame 30-degree weather and frozen greens to tie for second place at the Boilermaker Invitational this weekend in West Lafayette, Ind.

Dan Doyle tied the best performance of his college career, finishing tied for fourth place with a 4-over 148 (76-72).

The junior’s strong finish in the tournament was a pleasant surprise to NU assistant coach Steve Bailey. He said there is no one on the team who works harder and that Doyle is a “grinder” who frequents the gym and sets the bar high with his work ethic.

“We always expect Dan to perform well but he hasn’t had the glamorous accolades of some of his teammates,” Bailey said. “But he’s due for something like that for the amount of effort he puts into his game.”

But Doyle said it’s more than trips to the gym that have improved his game.

Doyle sees two sports psychologists on a weekly basis. He started seeing the second sports psychologist last fall and the results have been paying off.

“The mental aspect of golf is not that different from the physical part,” Doyle said. “You’re always working on it. It’s not so easy that I can put all these ideas into play but it’s something I’m improving on.”

Doyle incorporated some mental exercises into his game strategy during the tournament. One exercise called the “five-second rule” forced Doyle to get ready for his next shot and forget about the one he just hit. He said the exercises helped clear his mind whenever he felt he was thinking poorly about his match.

It wasn’t only Doyle who tried to put mind over body this weekend. The temperature was so cold that organizers shortened the first day of the tournament from 36 to 18 holes.

Junior Kyle Moore said he had never played on frozen greens before.

“When the ball landed on green it would take a hop and bounce forward,” Moore said. “If the pin was 140 yards away, you had to shoot for about 130.”

But Moore said the frigid weather gave NU an advantage over its Southern competitors who lacked the Cats’ hardy attitude.

“The guys from Baylor in Texas – they just didn’t want to be there,” Moore said. “These teams are used to playing in 80-degree weather.”

Moore said he was disappointed the Cats lost by nine strokes to Big Ten foe Michigan State. He said NU has more talent and will prove it in the schools’ rematch next week at the Kepler Intercollegiate in Columbus, Ohio.

According to coach Pat Goss, NU’s second place finish is a sign of life for a team that has struggled throughout the season. It’s also a rebound from the previous week’s dismal 11th place finish at the National Invitational Tournament.

“The players had a wake-up call and played with a little bit more of a sense of urgency,” Goss said.

Bailey added that the finish shows NU is heading in a new, winning direction.

“This finish was what we needed,” Bailey said. “As long as we’re peaking in the next few months, the rest of the season will be forgotten.”

Reach Liana B. Baker at [email protected]