Men’s Golf: Final round woes fade in Columbus

Sarah Kuta

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Although a good work ethic, intense focus and confidence are all necessary to be a successful golfer, modesty is optional. Sophomore Josh Dupont knows this.

“While I would’ve liked to have won it, more importantly is how well the team did,” Dupont said.

Dupont led Northwestern to its first team title of the season last weekend at the Kepler Intercollegiate in Columbus, Ohio and placed second individually with a 7-over 220 (75-75-70). The Wildcats finished on top of the 13-team field with a 40-over 892 after 54 holes.

The Kepler Intercollegiate marked the third consecutive tournament that the Cats have been in a position to win at the start of the final round. For coach Pat Goss, the team title proved his team has figured out how to finish.

“You can pick up again, learn from your mistakes and win,” Goss said. “Or you can let it defeat you and have the win slide away.”

At the start of the final round, Dupont was tied for 14th, but he was able to cut Ohio State golfer Brad Wright’s eight-stroke lead to two. Dupont’s 1-under final round score was the tournament’s only under-par round.

For Dupont, it was all about the team’s confidence.

“We have been putting ourselves in a position to win,” Dupont said. “We just haven’t been able to close the deal. This weekend, we stayed patient, didn’t rush and came through.”

Freshman Eric Chun took sixth with a 10-over 223 (76-75-72) after ending the second round in 18th place, his best collegiate finish and second top-10 for the year.

Chun attributed the team’s success to emphasizing the importance of each hole individually, rather than contemplating mistakes or the results of the round. After nearly winning tournaments the last two weeks, Chun was ready for the momentum to carry the team all the way through the final round.

“We kept asking ourselves, ‘Is this a jinx? Are we always going to mess up?'” Chun said. “We are so much better than the other teams with our game. We are all really good ball hitters, it just comes down to our focus.”

Though inconsistency has been an issue this season, NU has found a way to make the flaw into a positive. The team has been able to build off and learn from each individual success.

“When they see me or David (Lipsky) or Jon (Bowers) do well, it’s a confidence booster,” Dupont said. “We think, ‘If they can do it, I can do it.’ It’s nice to see each other do well because we push each other.”

At one of the toughest collegiate courses in the country and with poor weather conditions, the Cats had an advantage because of their experience practicing in high winds and cold temperatures.

“It was a very difficult course, but everyone just kept fighting,” Goss said. “The thing that everyone did well this weekend was to stay patient.”

After two weekends of practicing that patience, victory was sweet.

“It means a lot to win in golf,” Goss said. “There aren’t a lot of opportunities to win, so winning is very special.”