Oct. 12, 2013
DURHAM, N.C. -- With freshman World No. 1 Matt Fitzpatrick (Sheffield, England/Tapton) and senior All-American Jack Perry (Santa Barbara, Calif./Santa Barbara) sitting 1-2 in the individual standings, Northwestern has opened a 12-stroke lead after 36 holes of play Saturday at 11-team Duke's Rod Myers Invitational.
After a sluggish start during the first nine holes Saturday morning, Northwestern hit its stride hard. Teeing off from No. 10, NU turned at 2-over par as a team before playing the front side in 7-under par. All five members of the Wildcats' squad made birdie at the short 493-yard par-5 ninth to finish the morning with a two-shot lead over North Carolina. From there, NU rode two deeply red rounds from Perry (66) and Fitzpatrick (68) in the afternoon to its 12-shot cushion over No. 19 Baylor, entering Sunday's final round at 13-under 563 (283-280).
Fitzpatrick held a 1-stroke lead after the first round, firing at 5-under 67 on the strength of a bogey-free five birdie morning. With the 'Cats starting at No. 10, Fitzpatrick was 1-under par at the turn before four birdies on the front -- including a fist-pump inducing birdie at No. 3 -- vaulted him to the top of the leaderboard.
In the afternoon, Fitzpatrick made eight-straight pars before his first bogey on the day on his 27th hole when his ball plugged in a greenside bunker at No. 18. He responded with a birdie on his very next hole, then went on to card four more for a 4-under 68. All told, he played the front nine in a combine 9-under par on the day to open a two-stroke lead over Perry at 9-under 135 (67-68).
Perry was 1-over par through 12 holes in the morning before finishing strong with birdies on both front nine par 5s, Nos. 7 and 9. Building on his 1-under 71, he came out on fire in the afternoon with birdies on three of his first five holes. Turning at 3-under par, he made three more birdies on the front side for his third bogey-free round of the season in four events, carding a 6-under 66 that was reminiscent of his final round at the 2013 Northwestern Spring Invitational, which he won with an NU-record score of 16-under 200.
Perry is in second place at 7-under 137 (71-66), one shot clear of third.
Junior Matthew Negri (El Cajon, Calif./Grossmont) made birdie on his first hole of the day and the last hole of the morning round for an opening 2-under 70, then had a much more adventurous afternoon. Sitting at 4-over par through 15 holes, Negri birdied two of his final three coming home for a 2-over 74 and a 15th-place total of even-par 144 (70-74) entering the final round.
As well as the top three in NU's lineup played Saturday morning, junior Bennett Lavin's (Deerfield, Ill./Deerfield) fourth counting score was the lynchpin in the Wildcats' early team lead. A double bogey at No. 18 left him 4-over at the turn before a bogey at No. 3 sent him to 5-over par. He remained on that number with a pair of late, fast, curling par putts on Nos. 6 and 7 before draining a 15-foot birdie at No. 8 and two-putting for birdie at the par-5 ninth for a front nine 1-under 34 and a 3-over 75 for NU.
"I can't tell you how impressive shooting 34 was on that nine (for Lavin)," head coach Pat Goss tweeted between rounds.
Lavin kept his steady play from late in the morning going throughout the afternoon en route to an even-par 72, placing him 28th overall at 3-over 147 (75-72) entering Sunday's final round.
Sophomore Josh Jamieson (St. Andrews, Scotland/High School of Dundee) incurred three penalty shots off bad drives in his first nine holes, never recovering en route to a 6-over 78 in the morning before signing for a 7-over 79 in the afternoon. He is in 60th place at 13-over 157 (78-79).
The third and final round of the Rod Myers Invitational hosted by Duke takes play tomorrow, Sunday, Oct. 13.
Be the first to know what's going on with the 'Cats -- Follow @NU_Sports on Twitter, become a fan of Northwestern Athletics on Facebook, subscribe to the NU Sports Express e-newsletter and sign up to receive promotional text alerts for the latest news, schedule updates and video and to interact with NU. For more information on following specific Northwestern teams online, visit our Social Media page!