March 4, 2013
FRESNO, Calif. -- After a slow start Monday morning in the first round of the Fresno State Lexus Golf Classic at Belmont Country Club, Northwestern climbed back among the leaders in the second round during the afternoon to currently sit in fourth place among the 17-team field.
Just like at the Puerto Rico Classic two weeks ago, Northwestern opened with a rough round before bouncing back and roaring up in the team standings during the second 18 holes of play.
"We need to do a better job of preparing our players to be ready when the opening bell rings," head coach Pat Goss tweeted. "We're good at competing to the end so we'll fight."
Fight the Wildcats did. After ending the morning in 11th place as a team at 7-over 367, NU vaulted fully seven spots up to fourth place with the second-best score of the second round, an 8-under 352 that represented a 15-stroke improvement. Northwestern's 36-hole total of 1-under 719 is one shot behind third-place Arizona and three shots in back of host Fresno State. Top-ranked California leads the tournament.
The Fresno State Lexus Golf Classic is a 6 count 5 tournament, meaning teams field lineups of six players and count the five best scores in each round. The majority of college events are 5 count 4 affairs.
"6 count 5 format is always a good test of depth," Goss tweeted. "Our depth has improved since CordeValle [also a 6 count 5 event] last fall. You can really see the potential of this group."
Senior Nick Losole (Scottsdale, Ariz./Scottsdale Notre Dame) carded an even-par 72 in the first round to tie for the best Wildcats' score of the morning, making one birdie and one bogey on both the front and back sides. In the afternoon, Losole carded birdie at the 539-yard par-5 12th hole -- his third in the shotgun start -- before giving that stroke back at No. 16. From that point, only a birdie at No. 4 broke his string of pars for a second-round 1-under 71.
During an incredibly steady day, Losole carded four birdies, three bogeys and 29 total pars to find himself 22nd in the field at 1-under 143.
Sophomore Matthew Negri's (El Cajon, Calif./Grossmont) morning nearly completely mirrored his senior teammate's with one birdie and one bogey on each of the nines for an even-par 72. He then began the afternoon with a birdie on the 175-yard par-3 13th, his fourth hole, that would kick-start a super hot round. Four birdies in a five-hole span from No. 16 back around to No. 2 saw Negri get all the way to 5-under par through 11 holes.
"Negri is incredibly improved from last fall," Goss tweeted. "Winter has served him well. He is hitting it great."
Negri came back to Earth a little bit with bogeys at Nos. 3 and 6 to finish the afternoon at 3-under 69 to enter Tuesday's final round in ninth place at 3-under 141.
Junior Jack Perry (Santa Barbara, Calif./Santa Barbara) was cruising along Monday morning with pars on each of his first eight holes before carding a triple and a bogey in back-to-back holes on Nos. 17 and 18. Still at 4-over par with two to play, Perry made birdie at No. 7 before chipping in at No. 8 to sign for a 2-over 74.
That momentum carried over into the second round in a big way, with Perry recording three birdies in his first six holes to quickly get to 3-under on the round and 1-under for the tournament. He leveled off from there, giving one shot back at No. 3 to record a 2-under 70 in the afternoon and a 25th-place even-par 144 after 36 holes.
Freshman Andrew Whalen (Ephrata, Wash./Ephrata Senior) found himself 1-over par through 11 holes in the opening round before he made quick birdies on Nos. 5 and 7 to get into red figures. Back-to-back bogeys at Nos. 9 and 10, however, led to a first round 1-over 73.
In the afternoon, Whalen birdied his very first hole, the par-5 12th, before back-to-back bogeys at Nos. 15 and 16. He returned to birdie form on the front side, carding a trio against just one bogey to end the second round at 1-under 71 to place him 25 alongside Perry at even-par 144.
Freshman Josh Jamieson (St. Andrews, Scotland/High School of Dundee) endured a difficult stretch in the morning that saw him play Nos. 14 through 18 in 7-over par. He did card three total birdies in his first round, though, that helped him finish with a 5-over 77 despite that tough series of holes.
Jamieson's second round began much more demurely with a birdie at 14 interrupting a string of 13 pars to start. "Jamieson just can't buy a putt," Goss tweeted. "Hitting great shots and burning edges. Has some good birdie opportunities still to come."
Jamieson did make a pair of birdies, including a tap-in at the par-5 ninth after a blind 4-iron from 198 yards over water to a back pin, but he followed each of those birdies with immediate bogeys to finish the afternoon at 1-under 71 and 4-over 148 for the tournament. Jamieson is in 58th place.
Sophomore Bennett Lavin (Deerfield, Ill./Deerfield) has struggled a bit to find his form in NU's spring stroke play events, and he alternated brilliance and bogeys in Monday's first round. He opening with a birdie at the 12th but carded a double bogey five on the very next hole. He got a stroke back with a birdie at No. 16 before several bogeys and a double on the ninth hole left him at 5-over par. He would make one final birdie in the morning to end up at 4-over 76.
The afternoon saw three bogeys and a birdie among his opening six holes, after which he steadied to card two more birdies and two more bogeys the rest of the way for a 2-over 74 and a 75th place 36-hole total of 6-over 150.
The third and final round of the 2013 Fresno State Lexus Classic begins at 9:30 a.m. CT/7:30 a.m. PT tomorrow, Tuesday, March 5, with another shotgun start.
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