The Northern Illinois men’s golf team stands in fourth place following the first day of play at the UCF Rio Pinar Invitational at the Rio Pinar Country Club. Freshman Thomas Dunne carded a two-under par total of 142 in Monday’s 36 holes to earn a tie for ninth place individually heading into Tuesday’s final round.
NIU turned in a 36-hole total of 582 to earn fourth position, Florida Gulf Coast leads the way with a team score of 563 while No. 18 UCF and No. 37 Wichita State are tied for second at 566. Alex Medinis of Florida Gulf Coast heads the individual leaderboard with a seven-under 137.
“For the first stroke play event of the spring, I thought we battled really well,” said NIU head coach Tom Porten. “I was really pleased with Thomas Dunne; he was a real bright spot. He played almost flawless golf this morning but just didn’t make anything. This afternoon he didn’t hit it as well but he made some late birdies to get back to even and that is what we preach to the guys, just to stay patient and keep executing shots.”
The Huskies were tied with Akron for fourth following Monday morning’s first round. NIU fired a team score of 291 to open the tournament, just 11 strokes off the pace set by nationally-ranked Wichita State.
Dunne led the way for NIU with a first round two-under par 70, tied for seventh after the morning 18. Junior Bryce Emory carded an opening round 73 to claim a tie for 21st after the morning round. Freshman Nick Schiavi and junior Kurtis Luedtke also claimed top-30 individual places after the first round, each recording a 74 to open the tournament.
Sophomore Shawn Foley, playing as an individual, also carded a first round 74 to be included in the tie for 30th position.
In the afternoon round, Emory fired a team-best 71 for a two-round even-par 144 total. Emory is currently in a tie for 19th.
Dunne’s even-par 72 in the second round helped him maintain his top-10 positioning while NIU’s other three counting players, Schiavi, Luedtke and junior Griffin Bauman all posted 74’s to help the Huskies build a three stroke lead over fifth-place Campbell.
Foley maintained his tie for 30th individually with an afternoon round of 73.
“I really feel like we have a good round in us, we didn’t get great play today but I am looking forward to tomorrow,” said Porten. “It has been a really good week and we will see if we can cap it off tomorrow with a great final round and maybe a top-three finish.”