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Golf Update: Rough first tournaments provide opportunities to grow for the ‘Cats

Fall ball is in full swing.

Photo courtesy of Ryan Kuttler and Northwestern Athletics.

They should start playing golf exclusively in New York City because it is a sport that never sleeps. After playing well into May at the end of the 2021-22 season, the Northwestern golf teams are already back in action for the new season.

Women’s Golf

The women kicked off their season on Sep. 12 and 13 in Albuquerque, N.M. in the Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational, finishing 10th out of 17 with a total score of 22-over par. Teams from all over the nation competed in the tournament, including future B1G-member USC, which finished 10th at the NCAA team championships last year. It was current B1G-member Ohio State who won this one, however, shooting 11-under par over the three rounds.

Graduate student Kelly Sim was one of the sole bright spots for the ‘Cats, fishing one-over par and earning a top-fifteen individual finish. On the other end of the school-year spectrum, first-year Dianna Lee made an impressive Northwestern debut, shooting three-over par to tie for 23rd place individually. The junior trio of Jieni Li, Jennifer Cai, and Charlotte Hillary finished eight-over, 10-over, and 13-over, respectively.

The team’s next two tournaments are much closer to home. First, they will travel a whopping 12 minutes on Oct. 3 and 4 to the Westmoreland Country Club in Wilmette to compete in the Windy City Collegiate Classic, which is the Wildcat’s home event. Sim will look to improve upon her 14th-place finish from last year, while sophomore Lauryn Nguyen will try to find her 2-under par form that she had in the final round of the tournament last year. A week later (Oct. 10 and 11), the ‘Cats will travel south to compete in the Illini Invitational, hosted by long-time B1G rival Illinois. The team will then venture out west to the Stanford Intercollegiate on Oct. 21-23, completing the fall slate.

Men’s Golf

The men opened their season in the Fighting Illini Intercollegiate on Sep. 16-18, but there was much to be desired. They finished 14th out of 15 teams, finishing at a difficult 51 over par. The competition was intense, with 2021-22 National Champion Texas, 2021-22 Runner-Up Arizona State and current Golfweek number one Stanford both in the field. It was Stanford who won it all, finishing at 9-under, 12 strokes ahead of second-place Florida and Illinois, and 60 strokes ahead of Northwestern.

The ‘Cats were in a solid spot after Round 1, sitting in seventh, with no one carding anything worse than 5-over par. They were in striking distance of fourth place Oklahoma State and hoped to leapfrog Indiana and Arizona State. Round 2 was not kind to Northwestern, however. Although graduate student David Nyfjall and junior Chris Zhang improved upon their Round 1 scores, the rest of the team struggled, dropping them into 14th place. Round 3 was even worse for the ‘Cats, posting a round-high 307 as a team, good for 27-over par.

The ‘Cats will be back on the course on Monday, Sep. 26 at the Windon Memorial Classic at the Evanston Golf Club (which is actually in Skokie). They will look to have a better performance here at their home tournament before heading to Milwaukee to compete in the Marquette Intercollegiate on Oct. 2 and 3. They will end 2022 by attempting to figure out which coast is best. The east coast and the Quail Valley Collegiate (Oct. 16 and 17) is first on the list, as the ‘Cats go full snowbird and head to Florida at the first sight of winter. The west coast is up next as the Wildcats meander over to California for the Cal Poly Invitational on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. They will hope for more treats than tricks in their final tournament of the year before playing in at least eight tournaments in the new year.

Both Men’s and Women’s Golf are included in Northwestern’s newest promotion of complimentary admission at home events, so anyone in the Evanston area should make an attempt to see the ‘Cats try to bounce back in the next two weeks at home.