April 12, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Northwestern is in a seventh-place tie after 36 holes of play Saturday at the Kepler Intercollegiate hosted by Ohio State at the Scarlet Course.
NU is tied with Missouri at 20-over 588 after carding a 13-over 297 in the opening round Saturday morning and a 7-over 291 in the afternoon. The duo trails host and sixth-place Ohio State by three shots and sit just seven shots out of a third-place tie between No. 36 Liberty and No. 34 UNLV.
NU was 10th overall after the morning round and bounced up three spots in the team standings in round two.
Saturday's 36 holes began with a shotgun start at 7:30 a.m. CT/8:30 a.m. local time in beautiful 70 degree and sunny conditions with winds increasing as the day went on. NU began on holes 4-7, right in the middle of a long yardage stretch featuring two par-5s and the lengthy 233-yard par 3 fifth hole.
Sophomore Andrew Whalen (Ephrata, Wash./Ephrata Senior) had a strong morning for the Wildcats. Though he made two bogeys in his first five holes, he carded four total birdies after that include two in his final four holes to finish at even-par 71 on the difficult Scarlet Course.
In the afternoon, Whalen started off with a double bogey on his first hole but was wonderful thereafter. Still standing at 2-over on the round through seven holes, he reeled off three birdies in a four-hole stretch from Nos. 12 to 15 to get into red figures. He remained on that number until making birdie on his final hole, the par-5 fourth, to pull within one shot of the individual lead at 2-under 69 for the second round and 2-under 140 (71-69) for the event. Whalen is tied for that second place spot.
Junior Matthew Negri (El Cajon, Calif./Grossmont) was back in the team lineup at the Kepler and he responded by leading the Wildcats on Saturday. After making bogey on his first hole of the shotgun start, the 233-yard par-3 fifth, and another at No. 10, Negri reeled off three-straight birdies to get to red numbers.
"Matt Negri is back!" tweeted head coach Pat Goss. "After struggling late this winter and not being in the lineup at Stanford he looks solid. Birdies 11-13 to go 1-under."
He would eventually give all three of those birdies back, however, to card a 2-over 73 in the opening round. Then, in the second round, Negri was even through 12 holes until a double bogey at the par-3 17th lead to another 2-over 73. Negri is in 20th place at 4-over 146 (73-73).
Senior Jack Perry (Santa Barbara, Calif./Santa Barbara) got off to an uncharacteristically slow start Saturday, finding bogey on several three-putts and a couple of missed up-and-downs that the All-American generally converts. He did sandwich one birdie among three early bogeys in the first round, but finished with seven total bogeys on the round for an opening 6-over 77.
The second round started in better fashion for Perry, who sat even-par in the afternoon through 10 holes. Three bogeys after that point, however, led to a 3-over 74 and a 36-hole 45h place total of 9-over 151 (77-74).
Sophomore Scott Smith (Pepper Pike, Ohio/University School) is tied with Perry in 45th entering Sunday's final round. He made birdie on his third hole of Saturday's opening round and maintained that 1-under spot for seven holes until consecutive bogeys at Nos. 14 and 15. After turning back to the front nine, a double bogey and bogey at Nos. 3 and 4 and a late bogey at No. 6 led to a 5-over 76.
Smith was 3-over after five holes in the second round before leveling out a bit. Sitting at 5-over par with three to play, Smith finished birdie-birdie-bogey to get one stroke back to par and card a 4-over 75 to account for his 9-over 151 (76-75).
Appearing in his first tournament as a member of the team lineup since the fall of 2012 following his individual win at the Windon Memorial Classic that year, senior John Callahan (Hinsdale, Ill./Benet Academy) opened with a 6-over-77 Saturday morning. He avoided the large number but carded seven bogeys against just a single birdie.
Callahan's second round did not go much better with nine more bogeys and nine pars leading to a 9-over 80. Callahan is in 71st place at 15-over 157 (77-80).
The third and final round of The Kepler Intercollegiate takes place tomorrow, Sunday, April 13. Live results can be found at Golfstat.com
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