With 23 letters, Suchaya Tangkamolprasert has the biggest name in Northwestern sports. By the time she finishes her NU career, her name might be as big figuratively as it is literally. The sophomore led the NU women’s golf team to its second consecutive top 15 finish at the NCAA Championships last week. This was the program’s second consecutive top-15 finish, the two best seasons in the history of the program.
The Wildcats got off to a slow start on day one of the tournament. Facing windy conditions at the Tulsa Country Club, they shot 25 over par on Tuesday. On the second day, the team took 16 strokes off their score, moving into 14th the key on day two, leading the team with a score of three under par. Day three was very strong for the Wildcats, as they moved into 10th freshman Kacie Komoto. On the event’s final day, the team shot eight over par, paced by Tangkamolprasert’s best round of the tournament. NU head coach Emily Fletcher was pleased with the team’s performance.
“We came out of the box today and we said we needed to show some heart and make some birdies and they really did a great job of that," she said. "Overall, we played really pretty solid today, struggled a little bit coming in on those last tough holes, but this is a great group.”
Northwestern finished tied for 15th and won the event at ten over, followed by USC in second place at 12 over. The Wildcats finished second-best among cold weather programs, eight strokes behind fellow Big Ten member Ohio State. Michigan State finished in a tie for 20th place. Sophomore Elizabeth Szokol was place behind a one-under par performance by place, tied with Tulane at 46 strokes over par. Duke place, 12 strokes behind the Wildcats.
Launched in 1993, women’s golf is still a relatively new sport at NU. Before 2013, the team had only made one appearance at the NCAA Championships (24th place in 2000). Back-to-back Top 15 finishes have boosted optimism about the sport at Northwestern. All five of NU’s tournament participants are returning next year.
“We’ve made great strides this year and I couldn’t be more proud of them.” said Fletcher, “All five of them are coming back next year and we’re adding a few more so we’re really excited about the future.”