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    NU Meets Goss' Birdie Goal, Vaults Four Spots at Puerto Rico Classic

    Matthew Negri one-putted 10 of his last 11 greens for a round of 3-under 69 Monday to lead Northwestern.

    Matthew Negri one-putted 10 of his last 11 greens for a round of 3-under 69 Monday to lead Northwestern.

    Feb. 18, 2013

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    RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico -- Northwestern made a monstrous 16-stroke improvement from Sunday to Monday at the 2013 Puerto Rico Classic at the Rio Mar Country Club, carding a season-best 7-under 281 to vault four spots in the standings entering Tuesday's final round.

    The Wildcats currently are seventh among the 15-team field at 2-over 578 (297-281), three strokes behind sixth-place No. 21 Clemson and two shots in front of eighth-place Virginia Tech. Eight teams in the field are ranked among Golfstat's current top-40 in the country, including No. 31 NU. The Wildcats began Monday's shotgun start on holes 12 through 15.

    "(Our) goal today is to make more birdies," head coach Pat Goss tweeted before the round. "At least 20 as a team. I'm not so worried about making mistakes but want to see the team free up."

    Goss' team listened well, carding exactly 20 birdies among all five Wildcats. After the results came in, Goss tweeted "Good round today. Now, some practice and back to the pool and ocean for the boys!"

    Matthew Negri (El Cajon, Calif./Grossmont) put together "the kind of round I love. Lots of fight and confidence," tweeted Goss after the sophomore finished with a par on his final hole for a season-best round of 3-under 69. Negri began his day with a birdie on his very first hole, the par-5 15th, before giving that stroke back on No. 16. He made a tremendous up-and-down par save on No. 4 from 130 yards in a hazard to stay at even par.

    "I love a great par after a mistake," Goss tweeted. "Gives you the freedom to play to play great and those pars often are the kick start to a good round."

    That axiom certainly held true in this instance. Negri made birdie at No. 6 after flighting a wedge from 103 yards to within eight feet, then made a "good bogey" after finding another hazard on No. 7. Birdies at Nos. 8, 10 and 13 (and 1-putts on 10 of his last 11 holes) ended the day on a hot streak for Negri and propelled him 34 spots in the individual standings to 37th with a 3-over 147 (78-69).

    Senior Nick Losole (Scottsdale, Ariz./Scottsdale Notre Dame) did his part toward Goss' goal with six birdies en route to a second-round 2-under 70. Losole made a short game double bogey at No. 16 early in his round Monday, but bounced back with consecutive birdies at Nos. 17 and 18. Playing the front side, Losole carded three birdies against two bogeys to get down to his 2-under par total.

    Losole moved up into the top-10 in the field, entering tomorrow in ninth with a 3-under 141 (71-70).

    Junior Jack Perry (Santa Barbara, Calif./Santa Barbara) got under par quickly with a birdie on his second hole, the par-4 13th, before going back to even following a bogey on No. 16. Seven-consecutive pars followed before a birdie at No. 6, but again he gave that stroke back at No. 8. One final birdie, however, at No. 11, left Perry at 1-under 71 for the day and 1-under 143 (72-71) for the tournament, good for 19th position.

    Freshman Josh Jamieson (St. Andrews, Scotland/High School of Dundee) matched his collegiate-best total and recorded his first under par round as a college player with a Monday 1-under 71. Jamieson's total comprised the same scoring as his teammate Perry: three birdies against two bogeys while making par on the other 13 holes for a steady day. His only blemishes came on the two back-nine par three holes, which were near the start and finish of his day in the shotgun start.

    Jamieson's previous best collegiate effort was an even-par 71 in the second round of Northwestern's own Windon Memorial Classic in the fall. After Monday in Puerto Rico, the St. Andrews native stands tied with Negri at 37th in the field with a 3-over 147 (76-71).

    Sophomore Bennett Lavin (Deerfield, Ill./Deerfield) started well, making birdie on his second hole and finding himself 1-under through six. Playing the front side, though, he made four bogeys and a triple and found himself 6-over par before eventually signing for a 5-over 77. Still, Lavin did contribute a trio of birdies to Goss' goal for the day. He is in 63rd place at 11-over 155 (78-77).

    The 2013 Puerto Rico Classic concludes with the final round tomorrow, Tuesday, Feb. 19, at the Rio Mar Country Club.


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