Men’s Golf: Wildcats enter Big Ten Championships as top seed

Kevin Casey, Reporter

Northwestern faces a favorable scenario this week.

The Wildcats are ranked No. 28 and go into the Big Ten Championships as the top seed in the 12-team tournament.

The team is coming off a dominating 12-shot win April 16 that should pave the path to victory — even if that game was at home and against a field lacking stiff competition.

And NU will face a course at the Big Ten Championships that appears favorable to its mode of play.

Coach Pat Goss has said this season his team tends to perform better when scoring opportunities are scarce, the exact type of mentality the Cats will need when they tee it up at the Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort in Indiana this week. In last year’s tournament, this Dye layout allowed just two players in the entire field to finish under par, and NU’s players combined for three rounds in the 80s and just one in the 60s.

The signs are there for the Cats to win their first Big Ten title since 2006, thwarting Illinois’ attempt for five in a row in the process. 

Potential and reality are two different things, though. Junior Jack Perry’s  recent string of five consecutive sub-70 rounds, which led to a top-10 finish and a victory, and senior Nicholas Losole’s return to being the team’s solid No. 2 performer are certainly encouraging.

But others have to step up as well. Sophomore Matthew Negri and freshmen Joshua Jamieson and Andrew Whalen have risen to the occasion from time to time, but not all at once. In order to win this week, all five starters may have to be clicking, something that the team has yet to experience this season.

So, notwithstanding the advantages, NU still needs an extraordinary performance to take home the Big Ten crown. The team is capable of such a feat: It’s all about putting it together on the course.