Women’s Golf: Wildcats fight off nation’s best at home to finish fifth

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Brian Lee/Daily Senior Staffer

Suchaya Tangkamolprasert was Northwestern’s best player at the Windy City Collegiate Classic, finishing in ninth place individually at the event. The Wildcats as a team finished fifth in a field loaded with highly ranked squads.

Josh Walfish, Reporter

Northwestern welcomed some of the best golfers in the country to Chicago and held its own.

The Wildcats hosted the Windy City Collegiate Classic on Monday and Tuesday, an event that included nine teams in the Golfstat.com top-25 in the 15-team field. NU, which is ranked No. 33 in the poll, finished in fifth place, 14 shots off the lead and 10 shots off the third-place tie.

“I thought we got off to a real good start,” coach Emily Fletcher said. “We got off to a slow start (Tuesday), but our girls fought hard to keep a hold of a round that could have got away from us.”

Not much could have gone better for the Cats on Monday morning, as the team catapulted out of the gates to an even-par start behind junior Hana Lee and sophomore Kaitlin Park, who combined to shoot 4-under. That left NU in a tie for second after the first round, which gave the team a lot of confidence heading into the final two rounds of the tournament. 

However, the fast start proved to be unsustainable for the Cats, who fell further behind the leaders Monday afternoon. Lee and Park combined to shoot 8-over-par in the afternoon session, which washed out the efforts of freshman Kacie Komoto, who shot even par 71, and sophomore Suchaya Tangkamolprasert, who carded a 70. The Cats faded again Tuesday with a score of 12-over-par 296, the worst score of any of the teams that finished in the top-half of the field. 

Lee scored three birdies en route to her 70 in the opening round but only had three birdies over the course of her final 36 holes. On the other side, she went from two bogeys Monday morning to carding four apiece on Monday afternoon and Tuesday.

Park’s struggles were easier to quantify as she went from three birdies and 15 pars in Monday morning’s round to one birdie, seven bogeys and a double during the final 36 holes. It was another rough tournament for a player NU is relying on to contribute low scores to the team total  this season.

For all the trouble Lee and Park were in during the final two rounds, Tangkamolprasert was the steadiest player for the Cats. She had at least two birdies in every round and only had four bogeys in the final 36 holes. Her worst round was in fact her first, when she had six bogeys to counteract her three birdies for a 3-over-par 74. The sophomore finished as NU’s best player with a ninth-place tie at 3-over par.

“I think a top-10 in this field is a great accomplishment for her,” Fletcher said. “She was solid all week, and she’s been playing solid all year. She worked hard over the summer, and she competed well over the summer. She’s come into the season with a new maturity and confidence.”

The wackiest round of NU’s team belonged to the freshman Komoto. She had six birdies, eight pars, two bogeys and two doubles Monday afternoon to shoot an even-par 70. She finished the tournament with a team-high 12 birdies during the 54-hole tournament, but also had five double-bogeys, which nearly counterbalanced all the birdies. 

“Both of her doubles (Monday) were on forced errors, and she struggled a little bit with her putting,” Fletcher said. “She hit a lot of quality shots which is how you get six birdies and a couple of mistakes.”

The team is off until the end of the month when it heads to Stanford for its final tournament of the season, the Stanford Intercollegiate, from Oct. 25-27.

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Twitter: @JoshWalfish

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