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Golf: ‘Cats have great tournaments leading to second-place finishes

Teams both impress, while each has an individual winner.

Northwestern Athletics

Both the men’s and women’s golf teams thrived last weekend, highlighted by exceptional final rounds. The men finished tied for second at the Fighting Irish Classic, and the women’s team placed solo second in the Windy City Collegiate Classic.

Men’s Golf

Coming off a sixth-place finish at the Windon Memorial Classic and a top-five result at the Gopher Invitational, Northwestern entered the Fighting Irish Classic with a solid start to the season. It continued that success, as it tied for second place in the 14-team tournament. However, most notably, sophomore Ethan Tseng won the individual event, shooting 8-under par. In addition to Tseng’s great performance, sophomore Daniel Svärd had an outstanding three rounds, finishing in solo fourth at 4-under.

Tseng started the event slowly, carding a 2-over par 72 in round one. In round two, Tseng vaulted up the leaderboard with a 2-under 68, highlighted by an eagle at the par-5 17th. Heading into the final round, Tseng was four back of his teammate, Svärd, and Purdue’s Herman Sekne, the winner of the Windon Memorial Classic. Tseng started off the final round strong, holing out for eagle on the par-4 3rd hole. After a run of birdies on holes 12-14, he was tied for the lead. Following a birdie at the 17th, Tseng took a one-shot lead over Tennessee’s Caleb Surratt. Closing out with a par on the 18th, he shot an 8-under par 62. Not only tying a Northwestern 18-hole record 62, Tseng was also able to come out on top for his first collegiate win.

Svärd secured a top-four finish highlighted by a terrific 3-under first round. The reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year had a stretch of seven birdies in a span of 10 holes during day one. Svärd shot 1-under 69 in the second round to take a share of the lead. After a birdie at the 17th in Round Three, Svärd ended the day at even-par and in an excellent position: solo fourth place.

Graduate student James Imai, junior Cameron Adam, first-year Archie Finnie and first-year Niall Shiels-Donegan also competed. Imai and Finnie finished tied for 32nd, Adam tied for 36th and Shiels-Donegan was 77th.

As a team, the Wildcats shot a 3-over par first round. The leader of the pack after 18 holes was Svärd, shooting 4-under. However, after round one, they were in ninth place. In round two, the ‘Cats compiled a 2-under par day led by Tseng contributing 2-under.

Going into the final round, Northwestern was in third place, five shots behind Indiana. The ‘Cats started the round off strong, as they were a combined 7-under par through five holes. The back nine proved to be more difficult, and they finished 4-under for the day and 3-under for the tournament. Tennessee took control of the final round and shot 10-under as a team to win the event. The Wildcats finished tied for second with Indiana, and the team will be back in action on Oct. 13-15 to play in the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate Invitational.

Women’s Golf

After a disappointing tie for 12th place finish in the Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational, the ‘Cats hosted the Windy City Collegiate Classic at the Glen View Club. The tournament hosted a stacked field with five of the top eight teams in the country participating. The Wildcats had an excellent week, finishing second in the 15-team tournament. Northwestern was led by junior Lauryn Nguyen who, after a terrific three rounds, won the individual event at 11-under par.

Nguyen shot 6-under par in round one after a superb 4-under three-hole stretch from the seventh through the ninth. After 18 holes, Nguyen was tied for second, two shots behind Texas’ Farah O’Keefe. Nguyen continued her quality play with a 2-under par 70 in the second round and was tied with O’Keefe going into the final day. After making four pars to start her day, Nguyen holed out from the fairway on the fifth hole for eagle. She went on to finish the day at 3-under par, winning her first collegiate tournament by two strokes over O’Keefe and Meghan Royal from UCLA.

Senior Jennifer Cai had a solid tournament, tying for 20th at 4-under par in large part due to a solid 3-under par first round. First-year Ashley Yun finished in a tie for 27th place after a strong final round that included a stretch of three birdies in four holes.

Senior Jieni Li, sophomores Dianna Lee and Jiayi Wang and first-year Sarah Thornton also participated in the event. Lee finished tied for 34th at 2-under par, Li tied for 49th at 2-over par while Wang and Thornton tied for 74th and 80th, respectively.

The team began the tournament with a 9-under par 279 led by Nguyen who shot 6-under par. The ‘Cats were in a tie for second place with Georgia after round one; however, they were seven strokes behind UCLA. The Bruins shot a blistering 16-under par to take a commanding lead in the tournament.

The Wildcats had a solid second round as they shot 6-under par as a team. They were led by Lee who shot a bogey free 5-under par. Northwestern went into the final round in solo second place, nine shots behind UCLA.

In need of a great day to catch the Bruins, the ‘Cats shot 8-under par to finish at 23-under. While they weren’t able to catch UCLA at 32-under, the team was able to secure solo second place in their second tournament of the season. Northwestern returns next week on Oct. 9 and 10 to play in the Illini Invitational. After a terrific tournament, the ‘Cats look to continue their momentum from the Windy City Collegiate Classic.