Roughly a third of the way into its season, the Northwestern men’s golf team is swinging with strength. After going 3-1 in Big Ten Match play and earning a top-five finish at The Prestige — one of the season’s biggest showdowns — the ‘Cats headed into the Wake Forest Invitational with swagger earlier this week.
In Pinehurst, the ‘Cats managed their way to a second place result, falling only to UNC Greensboro, who outpaced the field of 12 squads by a healthy margin. The team ended 20 strokes above par, edging out a tight pack of three other teams, all of whom were within three strokes of NU. The Wildcats held onto their lead with a Round Three performance that tied for the best among the field (286 total team strokes).
Individually, many of Northwestern’s clubs shined.
Daniel Svärd led the way, tying for second place out of 65 golfers. The first-year had eight bogeys and 11 birdies — one of the best splits of all Invitational participants. Propelled by shooting one below par in his first two rounds of play, Ethan Tseng nabbed the No. 18 finish for the ‘Cats. James Imai, a senior who had the best finish for NU two weeks ago at The Prestige, tied for 22nd alongside David Nyfjäll, a grad student.
The Par 3s are where Greensboro was able to pull away, averaging 2.97 strokes per hole (good for -2 on the hole type for the Invitational). For comparison, NU had the second best outing on the short holes, but finished +4 on the category.
Northwestern dominated the long game though, leading the pack in Par 5 outcomes. Imai tied for the second-lowest score on the hole type, boasting a -4 mark in the category. The ‘Cats as a whole had the best finish on the five-par, averaging 4.67 hits per cup.
The team’s North Carolina showing was good enough to keep it on the cusp of a top 25 position in the latest edition of the Golfstat Team Rankings. Golfstat currently lists NU as the No. 27 team in college golf. UNC Greensboro sits at No. 43 on the list.
Next up is the Valspar Collegiate Invitational, held in Palm City, Florida, on March 27 and March 28. Beyond that, the team looks to travel to UVA and Illinois to participate in each school’s respective invite before the Big Ten Championship is held at the end of April.