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    Sam Chien Earns Big Ten Silver, Northwestern Finishes Third

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Senior Sam Chien with his Big Ten silver medal.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Senior Sam Chien with his Big Ten silver medal.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    April 29, 2012

    2012 Big Ten Championships Final Results (DPF Format) Get Acrobat Reader

    FRENCH LICK, Ind. -- Led by a Sunday charge at the individual title by senior Sam Chien (San Diego, Calif./Mt. Carmel), Northwestern moved up the team standings to finish third overall at the 2012 Big Ten Championships after the final round on The Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort.

    Chien began the day in third place, eight strokes behind third-round leader Luke Guthrie. He cut that deficit in half with four birdies on his front nine, but Guthrie's steady play kept Chien from coming any closer. Regardless, Chien's tremendous final Big Ten Championships concluded in a solo second-place effort and aided NU in firing the second-best score of the final round, something the Wildcats did in every round of the tournament save the first.

    Northwestern's 3-over 291 put it at 34-over 1,186 (311-296-288-291) for the tournament, six shots clear of fourth-place Michigan State. Indiana shot an under-par team round to finish second at 26-over par while Illinois won the team Big Ten title at 23-over par.

    Chien began his Sunday charge immediately, hanging a birdie putt just on the lip at No. 1 before carding actual birdie at No. 2 and an improbable birdie at the 610-yard par-5 third that started with a drive into the rough and recovery 9-iron to the fairway. He then crushed a 3-wood into the wind from 238 yards to the front of the green before jarring a 60-foot putt with his putter in the air as it fell.

    Chien gave a stroke back at the hardest hole on the course, the par-3 fourth, before an up-and-down birdie at the par-5 seventh and a fourth birdie at No. 9 led to a front-side 33, pulling him within four of Guthrie.

    Chien stumbled with back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 12 and 13, but quickly pulled himself back into the conversation with answer birdies at Nos. 14 and 15. He finished out with pars for a final round 3-under 69 and an under-par performance in the Big Ten Championships at 1-under 287 (72-73-73-69). Chien was named to the All-Tournament team for his efforts.

    Senior Eric Chun (Ansung City, South Korea/International Christian School) posted his second-straight under-par effort of the event Sunday after he had opened the tournament with scores of 78 and 77 on Friday. Chun was three over through six holes in the final round before turning his game on. He first hit driver, 3-wood on the par-5 seventh for an up-and-down birdie before another birdie at No. 9. On the 10th hole, Chun skipped a shot just over the hole from 95 yards for a tap-in birdie to fight all the way back to even par. A final birdie at No. 15 gave Chun a 1-under 71 and jumped him all the way into the top-10 to place 10th with a 72-hole total of 9-over 297 (78-77-71-71).

    Sophomore Jack Perry (Santa Barbara, Calif./Santa Barbara) played steady golf early, turning at 1-over 37 after eight pars and a bogey on the second hole of the front nine. He followed a second bogey at No. 10 with a birdie at the 429-yard par-4 11th but a double bogey at the par-3 16th and a bogey on his 72nd hole contributed to a 4-over 76 Sunday and an 11-over 299 (79-72-72-76) for the weekend, putting Perry in 15th place overall.

    Junior Nick Losole (Scottsdale, Ariz./Scottsdale Notre Dame) got his final round off to a rough start with a double bogey on the first hole, and that trend followed him through to a 5-over 41 on the front nine. He would conclude the day at 10-over 82 and 22-over 310 (82-74-72-82) for the tournament, placing him 35th in the field.

    After struggling through the first three rounds of his first Big Ten Championships, freshman Bennett Lavin (Deerfield, Ill./Deerfield) started on the same path during Sunday's final round before staging a rally on the back nine that was huge in Northwestern's continued ascension up the team standings. Two bogeys and a double bogey in his first three holes had Lavin at 4-over through five holes, then a bogey at the 10th put him at 5-over. Lavin bore down, making four-straight pars including one on No. 14 after his approach hit the pin and bounced off the green. Back-to-back birdies at Nos. 15 and 16 followed -- with his birdie at No. 16 nothing more than a tap-in on the 183-yard par-3. Lavin then made par on his final two holes for a 3-over 75, his best score of the tournament by three strokes. He ended up in 47th place individually at 26-over 314 (82-78-79-75).

    Northwestern now awaits the NCAA Championships announcement to find out its postseason destination.

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