Oct. 13, 2013
DURHAM, N.C. -- After entering Sunday's final round at the Rod Myers Invitational 1-2 in the individual standings, Northwestern freshman Matt Fitzpatrick (Sheffield, England/Tapton) and senior Jack Perry (Santa Barbara, Calif./Santa Barbara) finished the day as co-champions and helped NU hold off a hard-charging Baylor squad for a three-stroke team win.
Fitzpatrick held a two-shot lead over Perry after 36 holes of play on Saturday, then fired an even-par 72 Sunday to remain at 9-under for the tournament. Perry carded a 2-under par round of 70 to catch Fitzpatrick and give Northwestern co-medalists for the first time in program history. Both Wildcats finished one shot ahead of Baylor's Kyle Jones with totals of 9-under 207.
As a team, NU saw its 12-stroke cushion entering Sunday dwindle to three before hanging on to defeat No. 19 Baylor. Still, a 3-over 291 in the final round was good enough for the Wildcats to capture their second team tourney title of the season with a 54-hole total of 10-under 854 (283-280-291). NU previously won its home Windon Memorial Classic in September.
With Northwestern's team lead in fairly safe hands until the end, the focus for the Wildcats was the battle for the individual crown between one of the top duos in the country. Trailing his younger counterpart by two, the All-American Perry struck first with a birdie at No. 3.
"First show across the bow is fired," tweeted head coach Pat Goss, who earned his 35th career victory as NU's head coach. "Perry makes birdie on No. 3. Fitzpatrick hits good shots into 1 and 2 but misses 6-foot and 7-foot putts."
Fitzpatrick (67-68-72) and Perry (71-66-70) both made birdies at Nos. 9 and 10 to keep the freshman's lead at one before Fitzpatrick blinked at No. 14. After driving into the woods, he moved a loose impediment that caused his ball to move for a 1-stroke penalty. He eventually got up and down for a double bogey 7, momentarily giving Perry a 1-shot lead after the elder Wildcat made birdie at the 14th. Perry, however, would bogey No. 15 just before Fitzpatrick made a sand save on the hole to create a tie atop the leaderboard once again.
With Baylor making a run and several late NU bogeys down in the lineup leaking strokes, each hole suddenly became equally as important to the team race as the individual. Perry saved par from the woods on No. 16, getting up and down from 110 yards. Entering No. 18 still tied, Perry missed the green to the right before chipping to tap-in distance to get to the clubhouse at 9-under par. Fitzpatrick, the World's No. 1 ranked amateur player, would have a 40-foot birdie putt at 18 for the outright win, but settled for a 3-foot par putt to share his first collegiate victory with Perry. The win was the third in Perry's college career.
Josh Jamieson (St. Andrew, Scotland/High School of Dundee) fired his best score of the tournament by four strokes with a final round 2-over 74 that played a large role in NU maintaining its three-stroke margin of victory. With the Wildcats' cushion tightening, and with Jamieson personally coming off back-to-back bogeys at Nos. 15 and 16, the sophomore rolled in a 12-foot par putt at No. 17 and a 10-footer on 18 to post his 74. He ended up 57th overall in the field at 15-over 231 (78-79-74).
Junior Matthew Negri (El Cajon, Calif./Grossmont) was cruising along Sunday until a thinned bunker shot on No. 6 led to a double bogey. He responded with a beautiful bunker shot at No. 7 to save par. A pair of birdies and three back-nine bogeys left him 3-over on the 18th, where he hit a perfect 4-iron approach from 195 yards into a stiff breeze to enable a simple two-putt par and a 3-over 75. Negri concluded the tournament in 16th position at 3-over 219 (70-74-75).
Junior Bennett Lavin (Deerfield, Ill./Deerfield) opened Sunday with a double bogey and was five-over par through five holes before finishing on that number for a 42nd place 8-over 224 (75-72-77).
Competing as an individual not in the team lineup, sophomore Andrew Whalen (Ephrata, Wash./Ephrata) took 59th place with a 17-over 233 (77-79-77).
Northwestern now is off until returning to action Nov. 4-5 at the Gifford Intercollegiate in Newport Beach, Calif.
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