Women’s Golf: Northwestern opens season with 3rd-place finish in Puerto Rico


Daily file photo by Brian Lee

Sophomore Suchaya Tangkamolprasert opened poorly at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic but bounced back with a strong 18 holes the next day to lead Northwestern to third place in the event.

Kevin Casey, Reporter

Three days after the men finished third in their opening spring tournament, the ladies of Northwestern matched the feat.

Playing in tropical Puerto Rico, the Wildcats placed third Tuesday at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic. The 19th-ranked Cats posted a 22-over-par total of 886 over the three days, falling 5 strokes short of No. 40 GRU Augusta and 19 behind No. 8 Arkansas.

The 15-team field included nine squads ranked in the top 50, with NU surpassing two higher-ranked opponents, No. 7 Alabama and No. 15 NC State.

The result did not feel inevitable from the beginning, though — the Cats struggled mightily over the opening 18 holes. None of the team’s five competitors shot better than 74, and only freshman Kacie Komoto was inside the top 30, leaving NU hanging in ninth after a 13-over 301 in the first round.

A new day turned the tide for the Cats. Sophomore Suchaya Tangkamolprasert, who opened with a disappointing 79, took advantage of slightly easier scoring conditions at the Rio Mar Country Club with a five-birdie effort on her way to a 3-under-par 69.

The remainder of the squad didn’t capitalize to the same degree, but a slew of solid scores, one 73 and three 74s, allowed the Cats to produce a 2-over 290 and rocket up to third place.

With Arkansas 20 strokes ahead and GRU Augusta still holding a significant 7-stroke margin over NU, the Cats’ final day was mostly about holding on to that third-place spot. All five players, led by Komoto and sophomore Kaitlin Park, shot in the mid-70s to keep third.

In the end, none of the Cats’ competitors threatened for individual victory. Komoto led the way by tying for 17th.

That would seem to make the team’s high result rather peculiar, but the absence of any truly weak performances did the trick for the Cats. The team’s five members finished within four shots of each other, all placing in the top-30 of the field.

With that type of consistent performance across the board, coach Emily Fletcher was happy about her squad’s start to the year.

“Overall, I’m very pleased with our play this week,” Fletcher said in an email. “We got off to a bit of a slow start the first day, but after that we settled down. These girls have worked extremely hard the past six weeks, and they were ready to compete. Overall, a very solid start to our spring season.”

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