Feb. 23, 2014
RIO GRANDE, P.R. -- Northwestern is in a ninth-place tie among a strong field at the Puerto Rico Classic following Sunday's opening round at the Rio Mar Country Club.
The Wildcats shot a 4-over 292 to sit even with Missouri, three strokes in front of an 11th-place tie between No. 10 Oklahoma and No. 43 North Carolina. The `Cats and Tigers are two shots behind No. 25 SMU in eighth and three shots in back of No. 9 Virginia Tech in seventh.
"Hung in there for a solid round," head coach Pat Goss tweeted afterward.
Ten teams ranked in the current top 50 of the Golfstat.com rankings are in the field, including five of the top 10. NU is ranked 33rd entering this event.
Sophomore Andrew Whalen (Ephrata, Wash./Ephrata Senior) started his day with a birdie on his first hole of the shotgun start, No. 6, and exchanged birdies and bogeys until his fourth birdie of the round at No. 2 put him at 2-under par with three holes to play. He gave a shot back at No. 4 but finished strong to stay at 1-under 71 to start the event. Whalen is in 17th place overall.
Senior Jack Perry (Santa Barbara, Calif./Santa Barbara) had a tough day on the Bermuda greens at Rio Mar Country Club. He left several short putts short during his opening round, carding bogey at Nos. 9, 10 and 14 to find himself 3-over through 10. He got a stroke back when he rolled in a 15-footer for birdie at No. 15, then had another late birdie at No. 2 to finish his opening round in 33rd place with a 1-over 73.
Junior Matthew Negri (El Cajon, Calif./Grossmont) started his opening round with three bogeys in his first six holes before stabilizing with seven pars. He carded birdie at No. 18 and another at No. 2 to recover all the way back to a 1-over 73 to sit tied with Perry at 33rd in the standings.
Sophomore Josh Jamieson (St. Andrews, Scotland/High School of Dundee) was 3-over through six holes after an early double bogey. He fought back with back-to-back birdies at Nos. 14 and 15, but a bogey-bogey combination at Nos. 1 and 2 put him back at that 3-over level. He then made par the rest of the way, effectively playing his last 12 holes in even par for a 3-over 75. Jamieson is in 56th place.
Junior Bennett Lavin (Deerfield, Ill./Deerfield) made birdie on his third hole of the day to get to red numbers, but gave that shot back on the next hole. That birdie was his lone one of the day; Lavin ran into a tough finishing stretch with three bogeys in his final five holes, ending up at 4-over 76 to be in 61sts place.
Northwestern returns to action in the second round of the Puerto Rico Classic tomorrow, Monday, Feb. 24.
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