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Golf: Men finish sixth in Big Ten Match Play, women fifth in Heroes Ladies Intercollegiate

If only Evanston was as sunny as Florida.

Stephen J Carrera/NU Sports

Both the men’s and women’s golf teams hit the links this past weekend, each team earning impressive finishes at their respective events. The men competed in the Big Ten Match Play at the Hammock Beach Ocean Course in Palm Coast, Florida, on their way to a sixth place finish out of twelve teams. The women were competing at the Founders Club in Sarasota for the Heroes Ladies Intercollegiate, earning a fifth place finish among 15 teams.

On the men’s side, the first-seeded Wildcats faced conference foes Minnesota, Michigan State, Purdue and Penn State. Following an exhibition matchup with the Golden Gophers, the Wildcats tied the Spartans as Illinois transfer Varun Chopra picked up his first individual win for NU, defeating his opponent 4&3 (he led by four holes with three holes left).

The Wildcats convincingly won their second matchup 4-1 against three-seed Purdue, which is tied for the largest margin of victory of any match during the tournament. First-year Chris Zhang led the way with a 4&2 victory over his opponent.

However, NU suffered a 3-2 defeat to Penn State in its next match to finish sixth overall. Their next event is The Prestige at PGA West in La Quinta, California from February 15-17.

The women came into the Heroes Ladies Intercollegiate with momentum following a strong showing against Ohio State. This stroke-play event featured the top five golfers on each participating team, whose scores were combined over three rounds to form the team leaderboard.

Maja Stork of Oklahoma State won the individual event at 15-under par, six strokes ahead of the second place finisher. The Cowboys also won the team event at 15-under-par. Ole Miss finished second at 13-under-par.

The Wildcats finished tied for fifth at 10-over par, besting conference rivals Illinois, Purdue and Minnesota. Northwestern’s top finisher was sophomore Irene Kim, who ended in eleventh place at one-under par. NU’s next event, the Icon Intercollegiate in Houston, Texas, takes place February 22-23.

In other women’s golf news, senior Brooke Riley received an invitation to compete in the prestigious 2021 Augusta National Women’s Amateur.

Entire team results are below.

Men’s Team

Northwestern 2.5, Michigan State 2.5

James Piot (MSU) def. David Nyfjäll (NU), 5&3

James Imai (NU) vs. Bradley Smithson (MSU), tie

Varun Chopra (NU) def. Troy Taylor II (MSU), 4&3

Eric McIntosh (NU) def. Andrew Walker (MSU), 2&1

August Meekhof (MSU) def. Chris Zhang (NU), 2UP

Northwestern 4, Purdue 1

James Imai (NU) def. Joe Weiler (PUR), 2&1

Varun Chopra (NU) def. Andrew Farraye (PUR), 2UP

Cole Bradley (PUR) def. Eric McIntosh (NU), 1&1

John Driscoll III (NU) def. Herman Wibe Sekne (PUR), 1UP

Chris Zhang (NU) def. Nick Dentino (PUR), 4&2

Penn State 3, Northwestern 2

Ryan Davis (PSU) def. David Nyfjäll (NU), 2UP

Alec Bard (PSU) def. James Imai (NU), 3&2

Lou Olsakovsky (PSU) def. Varun Chopra (NU), 2&1

Eric McIntosh (NU) def. Jimmy Meyers (PSU), 3&1

John Driscoll III (NU) def. James McHugh (PSU), 2&1

Women’s Team

The link to the full leaderboard can be found here.