April 14, 2006
EVANSTON, Ill. -- After last year's event was canceled due to winter-like weather, Northwestern's men's golf team returns to the Robert Kepler Intercollegiate this weekend. Due to renovations on Ohio State's Scarlet course -- the event's usual location -- this year's edition will be played at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.
Northwestern returns to full force this week as the Wildcats welcome Dillon Dougherty back to the lineup. Dougherty missed last week's Boilermaker Invitational due to a prior engagement -- the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga. The senior was one of five amateurs to compete in the most prestigious tournament in all of golf.
Junior David Merkow earned his second top-10 finish in three spring tournaments with a ninth-place showing in the Boilermaker Invitational. He leads NU in almost every major statistical category: scoring (72.54), rounds in the 60s (3), par or better (15), and top 10/20 (3/2). He also holds the team's top individual finish -- the Big Ten/Pac-10 Challenge title.
Two of Northwestern's players -- junior Chris Wilson and sophomore Kyle Moore -- both hail from Dublin, site of the Muirfield Club.
The field is Big Ten-heavy as nine of the 15-team field are members of the host conference. The Big Ten teams include: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Michigan and Wisconsin. The state of Ohio is well represented, as Miami University, Akron, Toledo and Xavier join Ohio State. Ball State and Marshall round out the field.
Northwestern, at No. 33 in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin ratings, is the highest-ranked team in the field.
Muirfield Village Golf Club is a Jack Nicklaus-designed course. The course, ranked No. 17 by Golf Digest among "America's 100 Greatest Courses," plays host to the PGA Tour's Memorial Tournament. A par-72 layout, Muirfield is 7,159 yards long.
Last year's Kepler cancellation was the first in the tournament's 36-year history. This weekend's forecast calls for partly cloudy skies on Saturday and a 40 percent chance of rain on Sunday with highs in the 60s and 70s.
The 54-hole tournament gets underway Saturday with 36 holes. The opening round begins at 8:30 a.m. EDT (7:30 a.m. CDT). The final round is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. EDT on Sunday.