Cats Battle Through Bad Conditions (Women’s Golf)

Franklin Kao

By Franklin KaoThe Daily Northwestern

Northwestern’s performance at Saturday’s Lady Buckeye Invitational in Columbus, Ohio, was reminiscent of the Indiana Jones trilogy from the 1980s: The series started with the classic Raiders of the Lost Ark, took a sharp turn in quality with The Temple of Doom, but came back with a bang with The Last Crusade.

“Our first round was respectable, our second was a disaster and our third round came back to respectability,” NU coach Chris Regenberg said.

NU, ranked No. 33 in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin index, started out the day with a first round score of 313 that put them near the top of the pack. But in the second round, the Wildcats struggled as the team was forced to adjust to a course that was drying out.

Because the poor play was exacerbated by the difficult conditions, the NU players were frustrated with their performance entering the final round.

“It was one of those days where every player seemed to run into difficulty all at once,” Regenberg said. “Those are nightmare kinds of days, where everybody has trouble at the same time.”

Although the three seniors on the team have anchored the Cats’ solid play this season, two juniors stepped up in Ohio. Junior Brittany Johnston shot a sizzling 2-over 74 in the first round and an 8-over 80 in the second. With a total of a 10-over 154 after the first day, Johnston was tied for 11th going into Sunday.

Junior Katie Trachok also played well, shooting just two shots over Johnston in each round and ending day one with a 14-over 158 (76-82). Trachok entered Sunday tied for 23rd overall.

Although the team struggled at the end of Saturday, Trachok said the support from Regenberg helped the team get through the tough course. She also said that the support from teammates helped the Cats bounce back

Sunday.

“If we’re having trouble on a specific hole, our coach will be there to support us … and tell us what other people did on that hole,” Trachok said. “Every night before we play, we’ll have a meeting, talk about strategy … (and) lean on each other for advice.”

Entering Sunday in ninth place, the Cats fought back and left Columbus with a sixth-place finish. The low scorer for the Cats on Sunday was senior Heather Scholten, who shot a 2-over 74 and moved up 25 spots to finish in 21st place with a 22-over 238 (79-85-74).

Trachok ended in 21st place with a 22-over 238 performance (76-82-80). Behind Trachok and Scholten was sophomore Jennifer Hong, who finished 30th in the tournament with a 24-over 240 (78-84-78).

The top-finishing Cats player of the tournament was the Ohio native, Johnston. Johnston finished ninth with a 15-over 231 (74-80-77). It was Johnston’s first top-10 finish of the spring and her third of the year. Johnston also finished in the top-10 at the Wolverine Invitational in Ann Arbor, Mich. and the Lady Northern Invitational in East Lansing, Mich.

The lowest shooting seniors of the season, Lili Alvarez and Alice Kim, finished the tournament 37th and 42nd, respectively. Alvarez finished the tournament at 27-over 243 (80-81-82) while Kim closed at 29-over 245 (81-85-79).

The Cats’ comeback on Sunday helped reinstate their confidence going into this weekend’s Big Ten championships. The Big Ten Championships will be held in East Lansing, Mich., where NU finished second in the 12-team Lady Northern Invitational earlier this season.

Reach Franklin Kao at [email protected]