Men’s Golf: Breakout tourney for Bowers

Sarah Kuta

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Beautiful weather, 10 days of golf and a second place finish out of 84 golfers would have been perfect for most college students.

For junior Jonathan Bowers, Spring Break could only have been complete with a win.

“I am pleased with the way I played, but, by the same token, I would’ve liked to have won it,” Bowers said. “Second place is the first loser.”

Still, Bowers paced Northwestern to a fourth place finish this weekend at the FAU Spring Break Championships in Delray Beach, Fla. He led the Wildcats with a career-best second place finish. NU finished 19-over 871 (286-288-297) behind Illinois, Michigan and Eastern Michigan.

Bowers ended the tournament with a 6-under 207 (67-68-72), just two strokes behind Illinois’ Scott Langley.

“The course set up well for me,” Bowers said. “One thing that I did well this weekend that I haven’t done in the past is combining everything together.”

Coach Pat Goss said this was the first time Bowers had both a solid putting game and a strong ball stroke.

Senior Andy DeKeuster finished 25th with a 7-over 220 (69-76-75), sophomore Ravi Patel tied for 27th place with an 8-over 221 (76-71-74), junior David Lipsky finished 52nd with a 12-over 225 (74-73-78) and freshman Eric Chun tied for 70th with an 18-over 231 (79-76-76).

In the individual competition, which did not count toward the team’s score, Josh Dupont finished 10th with a 2-over 215 (67-76-72) and freshman Sam Chien placed 27th with an 8-over 221 (73-75-73).

Although NU had three top-30 finishers in the tournament, Goss said the team has room for improvement.

“I really wasn’t happy with the way we started that third round,” he said. “We had a chance to be competitive with Illinois. We were only five or six shots down at the start of the last round. I know that’s a tall order and I think we just got off to a slow start (in the final round).”

The Cats got off to a strong start on the first day. Bowers shot a career best 4-under 67 during the first round of the tournament and DeKeuster matched his career-best total with a 2-under 69, giving NU confidence for the rest of the tournament.

On the second day, Bowers shot a 3-under 68 while DeKeuster shot a 5-over 76. After two days of a competition, the Cats were in second place with a chance to win the tournament.

“We saw Illinois struggle a bit during that second day, ” DeKeuster said. “We had all the confidence in the world going into that third round, but I think we just got off to a sluggish start.”

With usual frontrunners Chun and Lipsky struggling, the Cats settled for fourth place.

“It’s hard for us to be competitive when our two best players aren’t playing like our two best players,” Goss said. “I don’t think either of them played poorly. I saw lots of good golf, but just bad scoring.”

Still, DeKeuster’s and Bowers’ performances led the team to a top-five finish.

“That’s the beauty of golf, we pick each other up when we need to,” DeKeuster said. “As much as it’s an individual sport, it’s just as important to work as a team.”