Men’s Golf: Tough second day drowns Wildcats in Puerto Rico


Daily file photo by Josh Walfish

Senior Jack Perry fired a bogey-free final-round 63 to lead Northwestern with a 15th-place finish at the Puerto Rico Classic. Perry was an All-American last year and won the Les Bolstad Award for lowest scoring average in the Big Ten.

Kevin Casey, Reporter

In the paradise of Puerto Rico, the Wildcats experienced a second-day nightmare that proved too dismal to overcome.

Northwestern finished 13th in the 15-team Puerto Rico Classic on Tuesday, the team’s worst finish in an event since coming in last place at another 15-teamer in September’s Fighting Illini Invitational. The Cats’ chances at a desirable result went in the incinerator with a second-round 13-over 301 that dropped the squad from ninth to 14th place. NU was too far back to move up more than one spot over the final 18 holes, despite a solid final day charge.

Of course, as was the case in the Illini event, the Cats produced such a result against a stacked field. In all, 10 teams in the top 50 of the GolfStat rankings, and five in the top 10, strolled the fairways of the Rio Mar Country Club this past weekend. But that hardly justified NU’s 13th-place showing. The No. 33 Cats were the seventh-highest ranked team entering the tournament, indicating an expected finish in the event’s top half. Instead, NU limped in behind four unranked squads along with two other teams that ranked below it.

The main culprit for the result was a fierce second-day slide. Starting their rounds on the difficult back nine at Rio Mar, NU produced a bevy of mistakes early on. Four of the five competitors played their first nine holes in 39 or worse, leaving the team significantly over par and plunging down the leaderboard. A gentler front side stalled the free fall, but the damage had already been done.

The poor individual performances were also easy to pick out. Junior Matthew Negri finished tied for 64th following a 78-75 combination over the final 36 holes and junior Bennett Lavin and sophomore Josh Jamieson came in tied for 67th, with neither shooting below a 75 for the entirety of the tournament. At a time when NU needs its starting lineup to be strong across the board, the results were a major setback.

The long trip did not prove entirely fruitless, though. Sophomore Andrew Whalen continued his strong play in his reinsertion into the lineup, riding two sub-par rounds to tie for 22nd. And Jack Perry produced a whale of a final round.

The senior dropped nine birdies on the last day, putting red numbers on half of his holes on the way to a bogey-free 63 and a 15th-place finish. The score was the second lowest single-round total in school history.

It was a sensational round of golf, but overall the performance was one of the Cats’ most disappointing displays all season.

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