April 26, 2013
HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Fla. - Sophomore Nick Dennis fired an even-par 72 today to lead the Loyola University Chicago men's golf team to a team score of 299 in the opening round of the Horizon League Championship at Mission Inn Resort. Loyola's total of 299 is a fifteen-stroke improvement from last year's opening round score. That score has Loyola perched atop the team standings with Cleveland State (300) and Valparaiso (301) and Green Bay (304) all nipping at the heels of the Ramblers.
"We got off to a bit of a rough start today but really finished strong on the final six holes," said Loyola head men's golf coach Adam Kwiatkoski. "Ideally, I'd like to see us make a few more birdies than we did. A major positive to come out of the first round was Nick Dennis who hit the ball the best he has to this point in the season. We're all looking forward to tomorrow's second round."
Dennis was a model of consistency this afternoon as he shaved two strokes off of his previous season-low. He sits in a tie for second on the individual leaderboard with Thomas Wettstein of Valparaiso. Andrew Bailey (Cleveland State), who Dennis played with in the first round and will do so again in tomorrow's second round, is setting the pace after carding a two-under-par 70.
Junior Alex Cusumano is only two strokes behind Dennis on the leaderboard after turning in an opening round score of 74. The St. Louis, Mo. native rebounded from a tough front-nine to sink three birdie putts on the back, playing a vital role in Loyola's opening round success. Freshman PJ Riner, making his postseason debut, showed no sign of nerves as he posted a four-over-par 76 in his first action of the weekend. Like Cusumano, Riner made clutch birdie putts on the back nine as he put himself in the top-ten overall.
Rounding out the Loyola lineup today in Florida was junior Nick Willenborg (77) and senior Brian Van De Motter (81). Willenborg was able to shake off a double bogey on twelve, sinking back-to-back birdies on 15 and 16. Van De Motter settled in as the day progressed, going one-over-par on the back nine.
The second round at the Horizon League Championship is scheduled to begin tomorrow morning with tee times set for 7:30 a.m. in Florida.
Team Standings Through Round One
1. Loyola - 299
2. Cleveland State - 300
3. Valparaiso - 301
4. Green Bay - 304
5. Detroit - 311
6. Youngstown State - 312
7. Wright State - 317