Space travel and country music were on the itinerary for the ‘Cats over their last two tournaments. First, they blasted out of the Earth’s atmosphere, destination: where no man has gone before... I’m talking about the Moon Golf Invitational in Melbourne, Florida, of course. The lunar expedition was fun, but the team knew that “It Won’t Be Like This For Long,” so they hitched up their “Wagon Wheel”s and moseyed on down to the Darius Rucker Invitational on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
The golf course at the Moon Golf Invitational wasn’t made of cheese, but it might as well have been the way that the squad carved it up. In a field with 13 top-45 teams, the Wildcats finished second, shooting 21-under par for the three rounds. They placed ahead of top teams such as Florida State and Auburn, as well as Big Ten rivals Michigan and Michigan State.
Individually, two ‘Cats placed in the top 10, and four out of the five golfers finished in the top 32. Lauren Nguyen led the way in fifth at eight-under, five off the lead. First-year Dianna Lee also played well, carding a six-under, which tied for tenth. Jieni Li came in at 17th with a four-under scorecard. Next up was Kelly Sim who notched even par, bringing her into a tie for 32nd. Jennifer Cai rounded things out, finishing at 15-over.
This finish placed Northwestern into the top 20 nationally as the team came in at 19th, eight spots ahead of where they were in the previous rankings. Their first event as a top-20 team was the Darius Rucker Invitational.
Country music must not be conducive to Northwestern women’s golf, because they ended Hootie’s event tied for 12th, finishing 30-over par. The course’s immense difficulty played a significant factor in those struggles. Only seven players finished under par or even, none of whom were Wildcats.
Unsurprisingly, Nguyen was the team’s best finisher, coming in with a tie for 23rd at six-over. Irene Kim and Li weren’t far behind, both being tied for 30th at seven-over. Sim was next up the chain, finishing eight-over in a tie for 40th. Lee completed the sequence with a nine-over card that put her in a tie for 45th.
Time will tell how far Northwestern will drop, but the next even on the calendar is the ASU PING Invitational at the end of March.