Men’s Golf: Goss’ Cats closing in on .500 mark

Sarah Kuta

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After a season-best fourth place finish at the FAU Spring Break Championship, Northwestern is motivated to be one of the hottest teams going into the final round of play at the Wyoming Cowboy Classic in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Despite their recent success, coach Pat Goss is not yet satisfied. Although the Cats are ranked high enough to qualify for the NCAA Championships, Goss said the team is still six wins below .500.

The Cats have two regular season meets and the Big Ten Championships to surpass the mark. With so many other teams competing at the tournament, Goss said the goal is attainable this week.

“Hopefully we can play well and pick up a lot of wins,” Goss said.

The Cats’ biggest competitor is two-time defending tournament champion UC Davis. The Aggies are ranked 36th in the nation, 22 spots above the Cats.

After finishing a career-best second place at the FAU Spring Break Championship, all eyes are on junior Jonathan Bowers.

“It will be very important for us to see how Jon Bowers responds after having such a great week last week,” Goss said.

Bowers played in the fourth spot on the team last weekend, but finished in the first spot overall. Usual frontrunners – junior David Lipsky and freshman Eric Chun – did not compete well last weekend. But Goss said he hopes Bowers’ success will right their uneven games in Arizona.

“In college golf, they build off of that internal competition,” Goss said. “At times, it can get complicated because they are jockeying against each other for who is going to travel, but at the same time trying to be supportive teammates. Hopefully, with more of that internal competition, we can get rid of some of that inconsistency.”

Bowers has been working on putting together both his short and long games for an overall package. Since only five of the eight NU golfers travel and just four scores count toward the team total, playing the best at all times is crucial.

“It just goes to show you that you never know who is going to show up for each tournament,” Bowers said. “I played the number four spot last weekend but came out on top. That to me says that any one of the guys on our team has the ability to do really well. It’s just who shows up on that day.”

Following a week of cold and windy weather that forced the Cats to work on their short game indoors, Goss said his team’s biggest challenge will be adjusting to the desert climate.

“We’ve been practicing decently this week, but it gets tricky this time of year. It was nice to get out here and actually practice,” Goss said.

In addition to Bowers’ play, senior Andy DeKeuster’s 25th overall finish and leadership on the course kept the Cats positive down the stretch. DeKeuster said he wants the team to keep the momentum up from last week’s season-best finish and individual achievements.

“This week is one of our last three regular season tournaments before Big Tens,” DeKeuster said. “We hope it’s just going to push us one step closer to our goal.”