Northwestern women’s golf is on fire.
After a disappointing second place finish at the Big Ten Championships, Northwestern rebounded in the first three days of the NCAA Championships at Rich Harvest Farms by winning the stroke play portion of the competition by eight strokes over Stanford. The Wildcats will face off against Kent State in match play on Tuesday.
Northwestern did not have any individuals in the top ten, but an excellent performance from its top five ensured a comfortable win for the Wildcats. Janet Mao and Kacie Komoto finished 13th and 14th respectively. Hannah Kim, Northwestern’s usual number-one golfer, finished 17th, 9 shots behind individual winner Monica Vaughn. The lowest-ranked Northwestern player was still 24th. No Northwestern women shot worse than 13-over, giving the Wildcats a massive advantage in the cumulative stroke play.
Northwestern survived to take the No. 1 seed in match play despite receiving a two-shot penalty after Sarah Cho took a golf cart to the bathroom. But even arcane golf rules couldn’t stop Northwestern from blowing its massive lead.
Unfortunately for Northwestern, this dominant victory does not give the Wildcats a national title. Instead, the top-8 teams will play a match play tournament on Tuesday and Wednesday. Northwestern has done the most it can to ensure a shot at the title and is playing the best golf in the field by far (they are 63 shots ahead of last place Oregon), but we will have to wait and see what the next two days bring.
Northwestern will face No. 8 seed Kent State on Tuesday. The quarterfinals and semifinals will occur on the same day. If Northwestern defeats Kent State, it will face either Ohio State or USC in the semis.