Men’s Golf: Jack Perry helps Northwestern dominate field at home

Kevin Casey, Reporter

Two days after the Masters came to a thrilling conclusion, Northwestern made sure drama would never play a role in its return to competition.

The No. 34 Wildcats stormed out to an 11-shot lead after the first 18 holes of the 14-team Northwestern Spring Invitational and never looked back. Playing as host at the nearby Glen Club in Glenview, Ill., NU experienced little trouble from its guests. Ohio State closed the gap to within a few strokes in the middle of round two, but the Cats picked up their play from there, finishing that round with a six-shot lead and doubling the final margin to 12 over the last 18 holes.

“This tournament really helped us accomplish a lot of our goals,” coach Pat Goss said. “If you can create an opportunity for a team to do what we did, it’s going to continue to build confidence.”

The tournament, however, will be most remembered for the exploits of Jack Perry. The junior birdied his first two holes of the tournament and relentlessly chased more red numbers thereafter. Perry held the outright lead after an opening 67 and continued to cruise from there, matching his 67 in round two and besting it with a final-round 66.

All of it added up to 20 birdies in 54 holes and his second victory of the season, a convincing 8-shot win. And at least in terms of numbers, not even former No.1 golfer in the world Luke Donald put together this caliber performance during his days as a Wildcat. Perry’s 16-under-par 200 was a new NU record for a 54-hole score (breaking the previous standard of 202 formerly held by Luke Donald and David Lipsky). His 8-shot margin of victory was something Donald never achieved in his four years here – Donald’s highest was 7.

Goss praised Perry’s work ethic for this display of golf.

“Jack has earned this through his preparation and how hard he’s worked,” Goss said. “To see someone put forth that much effort and focus and see it come to fruition over 54 holes was really special.”

Although Perry stole the show, other NU golfers also stepped up. All five starters finished in the top 12 spots for the tournament. Senior Nicholas Losole again proved his dependability after putting together rounds of 68, 76 and 68, good enough for fourth place. One of the team’s young members came to play again, as Joshua Jamieson sprinkled two rounds of 69 around a 76 to place fifth.

The freshman procured not only his first top-10 but also his first top-20 finish of his nascent college career. Jamieson did so with simple but effective play and is eager to continue on.

“I hit the ball really well, I was solid around the greens, and I didn’t make many mistakes,” Jamieson said. “I did most things pretty well this week, and I’m really looking forward to the Big Ten Championships now because I’ve got loads of confidence in my game right now.”

The Big Ten Championships will be the Cats’ next event. The 12-shot victory this week was satisfying, but it was at home against a field that included just one other team ranked in the top 100: Ohio State.

Goss was overall pleased with his team’s play but noted there’s still room to grow.

“We’ve improved, we’re showing good signs, but there’s still a bit of inconsistency there,” Goss said. “We’ve got to work hard this next week and get better at tightening things up for the Big Ten Championships.”