Northwestern once again held its own against some of the best teams in the nation.
The Wildcats finished in seventh place at the Stanford Intercollegiate, five strokes up on eighth-place and six shots behind sixth. It was NU’s worst finish of the young season, but only one team lower than the Cats in the Golfstat.com ranking finished above them at the tournament.
Friday’s opening round went about as well as NU could have hoped for, but the Cats still were in sixth place after 18 holes. Freshman Kacie Komoto fired a career-low 69 in the first round on the back of five birdies to be tied for fourth. Sophomore Kaitlin Park shot an even-par 71 and junior Hana Lee carded a 72, but a team score of 2-over put them 10 shots out of the lead.
The second round was marred by three Cats golfers shooting 4-over par, and no NU player found the red numbers in round three. However, the entire field struggled in those rounds as well, and the Cats added another top-half finish to their resume.
On an individual level, there was a lot for NU to enjoy. All five players finished in the top half of the field and the team’s best players played well.
Park looked like the team’s No. 1 player, finishing in a tie for 20th at 2-over par for the tournament. The reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year shot even par in the opening round and 1-under in the second round but had two consecutive double bogeys in Sunday’s final round to put a damper on an otherwise solid tournament. She finished with nine birdies and five bogeys over the 54 holes, but the double bogeys on Nos. 10 and 11 on Sunday and the 6 on No. 2 on Saturday pushed her into the black for the tournament.
Komoto started out on fire Friday, carding four birdies and eight pars in her first 12 holes, to help pace the team. She cooled off in the final two rounds with only four birdies over the final 36 holes but still finished in the top 30 for the third-straight event.
The tournament concludes NU’s fall schedule, and the team will resume its season in February.
— Josh Walfish