Women’s Golf: Cats ride depth to three consecutive top-two finishes


Daily file photo by Nathan Richards

Sophomore Hannah Kim follows through on a swing. Kim, the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year, has contributed to the Cats’ depth this season, which has been one of the primary reasons they have finished top-two in all three of their tournaments this year.

Robert Bell, Reporter

After a Big Ten Championship title and a top 10 finish at last year’s NCAA Championship tournament, expectations are high for Northwestern.

Meeting expectations doesn’t seem to be an issue for the team, however, as the No. 6 Wildcats have started the season with three top-two finishes in as many tournaments, culminating in a share of the title in Chicago’s own Windy City Collegiate Classic on Tuesday.

The team started the season by traveling to Albuquerque, New Mexico for the Dick McGuire Invitational, where the Cats placed second, only behind defending national champion Stanford.

Highlighting the team’s depth, not only did NU sophomore Sarah Cho finish best overall at eight-under par, but all six competing players finished within the top-36 of the tournament’s 104 player field.

While golf is inherently an independent sport, coach Emily Fletcher emphasized the importance of the team dynamic in the success so far this season.

“They are pushing each other. Not just in qualifying and scoring, but everyday in what we do,” Fletcher said. “There’s a spirit of getting better, and being the best version of you, and when that happens it elevates our team.”

The internal motivation of the team was exemplified when the Cats traveled to the Vanderbilt-hosted Mason Rudolph Championship in Franklin, Tennessee.

Behind a record-setting finish by freshman Stephanie Lau, who recorded the lowest 54-hole score in the team’s history (206), NU recorded the lowest overall 54-hole score in program history and finished with a second consecutive second-place finish.

The Cats’ next tournament was right in their own backyard, located at the Westmoreland Country Club course in Wilmette, Illinois.

Despite home-field advantage, the tournament would remain a daunting task, as they faced a field consisting of three teams that qualified for last year’s NCAA Championship, as well as several other teams listed in Golfweek’s preseason top-30 rankings.

Despite the tough field, junior Kacie Komoto, who finished five-under par, led the Cats to their first tournament victory of the season. NU shared the title with Arizona and Georgia.
The tournament victory is made even more impressive by the fact that in the three tournaments this season, three different players have finished as the leading scorer for the Cats.

“It’s a great thing,” Fletcher said. “It speaks to the depth and is indicative of what we’ve seen all year.”

Fletcher also mentioned the solid finishes by Lau and reigning Big Ten Player of the Year, Hannah Kim.

Despite the success experienced so far this season, the team refuses to be satisfied.

“I’ve just got to keep improving,” Komoto said. “I’ve got to work on my short game. My swing is where I want it to be, but getting the birdie putts down would be great.”

The women’s golf team will look to relax before traveling out to Stanford, California for the Stanford Intercollegiate on October 18.

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