Golf: Men and women Wildcats face busy weekends on the road

Kevin Casey, Reporter

Rest is overrated.

If anything encapsulates the thoughts of the lady Wildcats, it is that credo. Northwestern will embark on its third competitive trip in as many weeks.

Following a blistering stroke-play victory and an underwhelming performance in match play at the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic, the Cats will head out to California on Monday for the Silverado Showdown.

The two-day event features a well-stocked field. The event may not have quite the cache of the Liz Murphey, but it still lured No. 35 Oregon, No. 33 California, No. 11 Washington, No. 9 Arizona and No. 1 USC to the Silverado Resort and Spa.

NU is ranked 20th itself, three spots up from last week, thanks to a 14-shot victory in 18 holes at the Liz Murphey. But the Cats don’t feel entitled to stellar golf solely because they put everything together for one round.

“It’s the nature of golf, it’s a little bit different everywhere you go,” coach Emily Fletcher said. “We don’t really set any sort of expectation going into an event. We never know what the weather is going to be, what the conditions are going to be, how scorable the golf course is. It’s very different week-to-week, and our objective is to continue to improve.”

This will be the team’s last event before the Big Ten Championships, which means everyone will be looking to find good form. All starters have brought their A-games at some point this spring, with Hana Lee leading the way as of late.

The junior has finished first among her teammates in the last three events, and she sees no reason why she, and the rest of the squad, shouldn’t progress as the postseason looms.

“We’re on the right track,” Lee said. “Our game is coming together, we’ve been out a few weeks playing golf outside in nice weather. Everything is heading the right way for our team.”

The NU men have run the gamut of results so far this spring, posting finishes of 3rd, 13th and 8th in three spring events.

Predicting their performance going forward becomes quite difficult. The Wildcats will be in Columbus, Ohio for their fourth tournament of the spring, taking part in the Kepler Intercollegiate  this weekend.

The 15-team field consists of six top-50 squads, among them No. 47 NU, No. 36 Liberty, No. 34 UNLV, No. 31 Kent State, No. 18 UAB and No. 5 Georgia Tech.

And expect a fierce course to test every bit of talent these players have. The Scarlet Golf Course at Ohio State University plays as a par-71 at a healthy 7,455 yards and tends to wreak havoc on college golfers. Two years ago, the last time the Cats were at this event, no player even sniffed par. The winner came in at 7-over, and the best any NU competitor could muster was a 10-over total.

Of course such scores came at the behest of extreme conditions, not that anyone would characterize the Scarlet Course as a potential birdie-fest even in pristine weather.

Being based in a cold-weather area could aid the Cats in Columbus, as it did when they finished fourth in the event two years ago.

The strength of the squad lies in the top of the line-up, where senior Jack Perry remains a consistent and productive No. 1 and sophomore Andrew Whalen has strung together a series of impressive scores on his way to earning the No. 2 billing.

The No. 3-5 section is where there is the most place to grow, and it needs to happen soon.

Otherwise, the team will carry over significant question marks into their final event before the Big Ten Championships.

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