Men’s Golf: Third round woes cost NU top finish in Arizona

Sarah Kuta

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Two weeks, same result.

For the second week in a row, Northwestern had a tournament win snatched away in the third round. For the second week in a row, an NU golfer was strokes behind first place.

“You don’t get to win in golf very often,” coach Pat Goss said. “It’s happened twice now, but we can build on that experience and give ourselves more opportunities to win.”

The Wildcats finished sixth this week at the Wyoming Cowboy Classic in Scottsdale, Ariz., with a total of 9-over 849 (287-273-289). NU was just four strokes behind Fresno State and 12 strokes in front of Idaho. Returning champions UC Davis took the tournament with an event-record 13-under 267.

Junior David Lipsky finished seventh with a 2-under 208 (70-67-71) and was named the Big Ten Golfer of the Week for his performance in Arizona. Lipsky is the first NU golfer to receive the award since Chris Wilson in 2006.

“It’s obviously something very special to me,” Lipsky said.

Also finishing in the top 40 were junior Jonathan Bowers at 33rd with a 5-over 215 (72-67-76) and freshman Eric Chun at 39th with a 6-over 216 (71-67-78). Rounding out the Cats were sophomore Josh DuPont, who placed 44th with a 7-over 217 (74-72-71), and senior Andy DeKeuster, who placed 63rd with a 10-over 220 (75-74-71).

Lipsky was 4-over after the first three holes, but was able to make a comeback. He played 3-under on the last 15 for a strong finish.

“He had a pretty slow start in the first three holes of that last round,” said Goss, who noted Lipsky’s strong character and perseverance. “A lot of guys will just pack up for the day at that point, but he came back out, no excuses, and kept fighting.”

After the second round, NU was tied with Oregon State for second, two strokes behind UC Davis. The team’s inability to finish strong stemmed from inexperience, Goss said.

“I told the guys, ‘It’s a learning opportunity,'” he said.

At the start of the third round Tuesday, Lipsky was tied for second, four strokes behind the individual leader. Following a bogey on the first hole and an out-of-bounds ball on the third, he quickly fell out of contention.

“I wanted to put the press on right away,” Lipsky said. “I was playing with the leader, and the other guy tied for second and another top-10. I wanted to get some birdies quick, but I think I just pressed too hard, and that inhibited me.”

After finishing the second round in fourth with a 3-under 67, Chun dropped to the bottom of the top-40 during the third round.

Chun and the Cats will look to put an end to their third round jitters at the Kepler Intercollegiate in Columbus, Ohio this weekend.

“On a personal level, I wasn’t focused as much as I could have been,” Chun said. “I think that a big part of it is just learning how to mentally trust myself and believe that I can play well.”