Men’s Golf: The year in review

Sarah Kuta

Player of the Year: Eric Chun

The freshman first made his presence known by finishing 13th at the Windon Memorial Classic in October. Chun achieved his second top-20 collegiate finish at the CordeValle Collegiate in November with a seventh place. He then led Northwestern to a victory over Purdue and overall fifth place at the Big Ten Match Play Championship in February.

The Big Ten watched as Chun shut down the competition to become the first Big Ten Individual Champion since current PGA tour veteran and Illinois alumnus Steve Stricker in 1986. Chun was the only golfer under par, shooting a 1-under 283 to lead the Wildcats to a seventh place finish and ultimately a bid for the NCAA South Central Regional.

Chun continued to push on for NU by finishing 13th at the NCAA South Central Regional, helping the Cats to a fourth-place tie with TCU, and a chance to play at the 2009 NCAA Championships.

For his outstanding performance this season, Chun was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team.

Biggest Win: Kepler Intercollegiate

After two disappointing weekends of third-round jitters, the Cats finally achieved a team title. At the FAU Spring Break Championships, NU jumped two spots during the second round to begin the final round in second place. Though junior Jonathan Bowers was runner-up at the tournament, it wasn’t enough. The Cats set themselves up for victory, but third-round woes pushed them back to a fourth place finish.

The following weekend at the Wyoming Cowboy Classic was like a terrible rerun. After the second round, NU was just two strokes behind leader UC Davis, and in a position to snatch the team title. During the final round, the Cats fell to finish sixth.

Two weekends, same results. But sophomore Josh Dupont wouldn’t let it happen a third time. Dupont was runner-up in the tournament with a 7-over 220 and achieved the only under-par score for the tournament during his final round, a 1-under 70.

Biggest Loss: Andy DeKeuster

The team’s only senior, DeKeuster walked on as a sophomore and has been an integral part of NU golf for the past three years.

This year, DeKeuster achieved his third career top-20 finish with a 4-over 217, helping the team to a fifth place finish at the Windon Memorial Classic.

DeKeuster, a journalism student, plans to write for a golf- or sports-

related publication after graduation. Through a connection at Golfweek Magazine, DeKeuster blogged for about his experience at both the NCAA South Central Regional and the NCAA Championships.

Coach Pat Goss described DeKeuster as one of his favorite golfers and remembers the shock of finding such a good golfer on campus that wasn’t already on the team.

Though four years separate the two, DeKeuster found an unexpected connection with Chun. The two learned from each other – DeKeuster from the freshman’s confidence and Chun from the senior’s experience.

“I’m going to miss him a lot,” Chun said. “He’s real fun to be around, he’s a real bright fun guy.”