Men’s Golf: Cats bounce back from bad first day to finish eighth in Skokie


Nathan Richards/Daily Senior Staffer

Northwestern senior Bennett Lavin watches his shot fly toward the hole at the Evanston Golf Club on Sunday. The Wildcats bounced back from a rough first day to finish eighth at the Windon Memorial Classic.

Alex Lederman, Assistant Sports Editor

SKOKIE — Northwestern bounced back Monday after a rocky start Sunday to finish eighth out of 15 teams at the Windon Memorial Classic at the Evanston Golf Club.

The Wildcats battled tough conditions and 18 mph winds on day one and came out on the losing end after 24 hours, placing 13th at their sole home event with a 20-over 580. Still, their 7-over 287 afternoon was significantly better than their last place 13-over 293 morning.

“Obviously yesterday was disappointing,” newly named head coach David Inglis said Monday. “Coming into our home event, where we’ve practiced a lot recently and knew where the pins were going to be, we felt like we were really well prepared. But we got off to a sluggish start with that poor run yesterday morning, and it was hard to make up the ground yesterday because the course was playing difficult with the wind. We kind of shot ourselves in the foot.”

NU rebounded on day two, though, surging to eighth overall (tied with Tulsa) with a final score of 22-over 862.

“Our players really came out today and responded the way we asked them to,” Inglis said Monday. “We moved up five spots today, and it became a respectable tournament. Hopefully we can build off today. We’ve got a tough fall schedule, so our players are going to have plenty of opportunities to test themselves against some really good teams. They’ve got to remember what we did today and forget what we did yesterday.”

Freshman Dylan Wu impressed in the final round with a 1-under 69, six shots better than Sunday.

“He’s got a bit of a swagger,” Inglis said. “Especially for a freshman.”

Wu credited his improvement to the team dynamic.

“I definitely had a little jitters yesterday on the first tee,” he said. “But this is an atmosphere that I like a lot. It’s pretty unique in golf, realizing that it’s not an individual sport anymore. You’re playing for your university and you’re playing for your team. That’s what college golf is really about.”

Wu said one of the main factors in his commitment to NU was its pair of coaches: Inglis and Patt Goss.

This is Inglis’ first season as head coach at NU after four years as assistant. He succeeds Goss, who is now director of golf and player development for the Cats after 22 years coaching.

“The adjustment has been very smooth,” senior Scott Smith said. “Inglis has always been an incredibly influential part of the team, and I don’t think the rules have changed at all. It’s just a job title. Both of them have always been my head coach.”

The challenge for Inglis this year will be managing his new talent. Wu isn’t the only new face in town. Two more freshmen join him: Charles Wang and Sam Triplett.

“All three of them are going to contribute a lot to the team this year,” Inglis said. “The seniors have really got some work to do to keep these guys out of the lineup, which is good. We need that competition within the squad.”

But these freshmen have big shoes to fill.

“We lose Jack (Perry), who was an All-American, and we lost Matt Fitzpatrick, turning pro,” Inglis said. “They were our two best players last year, so it’s a great opportunity for the guys that maybe haven’t gotten as much playing time, and certainly for the freshmen to get in the lineup and get that competitive experience. They’ve got to see this an opportunity.”

And the freshmen certainly know the history of the program they’re stepping into and are ready for the challenge.

“There are a lot of players that have gone through Northwestern that have done well and have become successful at golf,” Wu said. “I just use them as a stepping stone and as role models. I know that after four years, players can become that good at golf and play at a professional level, so I’m pretty confident that if I keep on listening to my coaches and dedicating myself to the game, my dream in the future can be had.”

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