Northwestern Wins Big TenPac 10 Challenge

By Golf Channel NewsroomOctober 7, 2005, 4:00 pm
Courtesy of NUsports.com
 
NCAAGLENVIEW, Ill. -- With three birdies on his last four holes, Northwestern's David Merkow came from behind to capture the individual title at this year's Big Ten/Pac-10 Challenge, and in the process, help the Wildcats claim the team title by three strokes over Minnesota.
 
It was the 19th tournament championship that Northwestern has won under 10th-year head coach Pat Goss.
 
Merkow, who carded a 4-under 68 for the third round and a career-best 7-under 209 (71-70-68) for the tournament, edged Washington's James Lepp, the 2005 NCAA champion, by a single stroke. Minnesota's Antti Ahokas and Arizona State's Niklas Lemke finished two strokes back. Northwestern's Chris Wilson and Arizona State's Alejandro Canizares, the first Big Ten/Pac-10 Challenge winner and 2003 NCAA champion, both finished 3-under and four strokes behind Merkow.
 
After opening the final round with an eagle on the par-5 first hole, Merkow ran into trouble on No. 3 and 4, where he recorded back-to-back double bogeys. But after those two holes, he played flawless golf the remainder of the round, notching seven pars and six birdies.
 
'David just played some tremendous golf against a tremendous field,' said Goss. 'I'm really proud of the way he performed and maintained his composure after a couple tough holes.'
 
Wilson fired a 1-under 71 and moved from seventh to fifth on the final day. His birdie on his final hole helped the Wildcats seal their team championship over the Gophers.
 
Northwestern received strong final rounds from seniors Dillon Dougherty and Bryson Young, who both carded 1-over 73's. Dougherty finished 23rd with a 4-over 220 (73-74-73) and Young placed 35th at 7-over (74-76-73=223). Sophomore Dan Doyle placed 35th as well with a 7-over 223 (70-75-78).
 
Northwestern's Kyle Moore, who was participating as an individual, fired an even-par 72 on Tuesday and placed 53rd (79-77-72=228).
 
In the conference challenge, the Big Ten Conference defeated the Pacific-10, and evened the series at 1-1. Each conference counted its six low scores for each round.
 
Team Results:
1 Northwestern -4 (286 289 285 = 860)
2 Minnesota -1 (294 282 287 = 863)
3 Arizona State U. +1 (288 285 292 = 865)
4 UCLA +4 (293 283 292 = 868)
5 Washington +10 (289 298 287 = 874)
6 Ohio State Univ. +13 (287 294 296 = 877)
T7 Arizona +14 (296 290 292 = 878)
T7 Michigan State +14 (290 298 290 = 878)
9 Purdue +18 (298 284 300 = 882)
10 Illinois +21 (290 301 294 = 885)
11 Indiana University +22 (293 294 299 = 886)
12 Southern California +35 (293 297 309 = 899 )
13 Oregon, U. of +41 (305 304 296 = 905 )
14 California, U. of +56 (298 310 312 = 920)
 
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