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    Two 'Cats in Top Eight at B1G Championships

    May 2, 2014

    Game Photo
    Northwestern 2014 Big Ten Championships
    Pete Dye Course • French Lick Resort • French Lick, Ind.

    Day One Results
    Northwestern

    FRENCH LICK, Ind. -- A pair of Wildcats are within striking distance of the individual lead while Northwestern's search for a fourth score in the team race has the squad fifth overall midway through the 2014 Big Ten Championships at the Pete Dye Course at the French Lick Resort.

    NU carded identical 13-over 301 scores in both of Friday's rounds at the 72-hole Big Ten Championships to find itself at 26-over 602, one stroke in front of No. 35 Iowa. Northwestern trails fourth-place Ohio State by six and is just seven shots behind a two-way tie for second between Minnesota and No. 9 Illinois and eight shots in back of the leader, No. 43 Purdue.

    In both of Friday's rounds, Northwestern recorded scores atop the lineup that were elite among the field but just lacked that No. 4 score to complete strong team tallies.

    Sophomore Andrew Whalen (Ephrata, Wash./Ephrata Senior) began his first round of the 2014 Big Ten Championships with nine-consecutive pars. On the difficult back side, he made three bogeys before coming home with a birdie at the monstrous 626-yard par-5 finishing hole for a 2-over 74.

    Sitting 15th overall entering the second round Friday, Whalen made three birdies on the front nine against just one bogey for an outbound 2-under 34. A fourth birdie got him to 3-under par after 14 holes, but three bogeys after that led to an even-par 72 in the afternoon. Still, Whalen vaulted all the way up into a tie for fourth place at 2-over 146 (74-72) and sits just three strokes off the pace entering the third round Saturday.

    Senior Jack Perry (Santa Barbara, Calif./Santa Barbara) surged out of the gate in the opening round with birdies at Nos. 2 and 3. He was still 2-under par through 14 holes before three bogeys in the final four holes left him in third position after one round at 1-over 73.

    In the afternoon, a difficult three-bogey stretch around the turn put Perry at 3-over par, which is where he would finish the second round. On a tough course, Perry's 36-hole total of 4-over 148 (73-75) has him solidly in eighth place overall.

    Junior Bennett Lavin (Deerfield, Ill./Deerfield) had a strong morning round, making one bogey and one birdie in his first 10 holes to find himself even par. Three bogeys on the back nine led to an opening 3-over 75 that was good for 19th place. The second round, however, was a different story. Lavin avoided the big number but still carded nine bogeys total, getting one shot back at the par-5 last for a 7-over 79.

    Lavin is in 34th place at 10-over 154 (75-79).

    Junior Matthew Negri (El Cajon, Calif./Grossmont) started well Friday morning with a birdie and five pars among his first six holes. Struggles began after that, though, leading to a 10-over 82. In the afternoon, Negri still had seven bogeys on his card but balanced that with four birdies to shoot seven shots better at 3-over 75 and give NU a huge lift. Negri is 50th overall at 13-over 157 (82-75).

    Sophomore Scott Smith (Pepper Pike, Ohio/University School) is 54th over at 15-over 159 (79-80), but shows promise for good scoring in the days ahead. He started both of his rounds with triple bogey 7s at the 420-yard par-4 first to be immediately behind the eight ball. In the morning round, he battled back with a trio of birdies, but seven other bogeys gave him a 7-over 79.

    In the afternoon, Smith had one birdie and 14 pars -- but his other scores were the aforementioned triple at the first, a quadruple bogey at No. 6 and a double bogey at No. 13 for an 8-over 80. If Smith can avoid those big scores Saturday and Sunday, he will surge up the leaderboard.

    The third round of the 72-hole Big Ten Championships begins at 8 a.m. CT/9 a.m. ET tomorrow, Saturday, May 3.

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