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Golf: A tale of two teams with two very different weeks

The women’s team brings home some hardware, while the men’s team struggles to get under par.

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As both Northwestern golf teams hit the final holes of their seasons and near Big Ten Championships, the two diverged in terms of recent results. Get up to speed on each squad’s latest performance.

Men’s Golf

After an almost three-week hiatus from competitive play, the ‘Cats traveled to Palm City, Florida to compete in the Valspar Collegiate Invitational. The sunny weather was hotter than Northwestern’s game, as the ‘Cats finished 12th, 28 shots back from the winner, North Carolina.

The squad struggled to take advantage of its opportunities, finishing 11th out of 16 teams in Par 5 scoring. Add in a 12th-place finish in Par 4 scoring and sixth-place finish in Par 3 scoring, and the ‘Cats didn’t have the juice to gain strokes on the field.

However, there were positives from the trip to Florida — most notably, the play of David Nyfjäll and Ethan Tseng.

Nyfjäll wasn’t nearly as dominant as he’s capable of being, but nonetheless owned the Par 3s, finishing the tournament bogey-free on the short holes, while tying for second in Par 3 scoring at -3 on the tournament. The Swede ended the tournament tied for 20th among all golfers, posting a -3 score to lead the ‘Cats.

Tseng, in his first season at Northwestern, has made the most of his opportunities, finishing tied for 18th at the Wake Forest Invitational last time out. Although the first-year finished his week in Florida +1, Tseng flashed at times, playing the course’s back nine -4, including an eagle on the 535-yard Par 5 15th in his final round. But the Floridian rounds found ways to frustrate the first-year, with Tseng playing the course’s front nine +5 to end any chances of another top-20 finish.

Daniel Svard, like Tseng, finished the tournament +1, while James Imai (+6) and Christopher Zhang (+12), struggled to keep Northwestern under par.

The ‘Cats will look to rebound in the second week of April as they travel to Charlottesville, Virginia for the Lewis Chitengwa Memorial.

Women’s Golf

Unlike the men’s team, the women’s team dominated the 17-team field at the PING/ASU Invitational in Phoenix, Arizona last week. The ‘Cats pounced to the top of the leaderboard after Round One and never looked back, finishing first with a 14-shot cushion over Arizona State.

Kelly Sim dominated, posting rounds of 68, 69 and 69 to finish tied for first among all golfers at -10 on the tournament. She ended competition third in Par 3 scoring, second in Par 4 scoring and seventh in Par 5 scoring to lead the way for the ‘Cats. Meanwhile, Sim bogeyed only three of 54 holes of golf, playing her final round bogey-free en route to earning Big Ten Golfer of the Week honors.

It wasn’t just Sim who flourished, though. Dianna Lee (-4) ended in fourth, Lauren Nguyen (-2) concluded tied for sixth, Irene Kim (E) finished tied for ninth and Jieni Li (+2) tied for 15th, helping the ‘Cats pace the field in Par 3, Par 4 and Par 5 scoring.

Only Jennifer Cai (+14) struggled, ending the tournament with an eight-over round to slot in 78th among the field.

Northwestern will look to keep its momentum going into the first week of April with the Silverado Showdown in Napa, California right around the corner.