Men’s Golf: Wu looks to defend title, lead Wildcats in California


Daily file photo by Nathan Richards

Dylan Wu lines up a putt. The sophomore is looking to repeat as champion at the Gifford Intercollegiate and said patience and taking it one shot at a time will be keys for success.

Joseph Wilkinson, Reporter

Men’s Golf

When sophomore Dylan Wu tees off for the Wildcats at this week’s Gifford Intercollegiate, he won’t be just another guy in a field of over 80 golfers. He’ll be a defending champion, looking to repeat his success at the Gifford after his dramatic victory last year.

The field could be in more trouble this year because his coach, David Inglis, says he’s even better.

“He’s by far a better golfer, more mature, better at making decisions and reactions on the golf course,” Inglis said. “He’s as good as anybody, and he proved it last year.”

Wu will be joined by seniors Andrew Whalen and Josh Jamieson, sophomore Sam Triplett and freshman Luke Miller in the Northwestern lineup this week against a difficult field featuring eight of Golfweek’s top 50 teams in the country. The Wildcats sit just outside Golfweek’s top 50 at No. 51.

In addition to highly ranked teams, the field also features Maverick McNealy from Stanford, the No. 3 collegiate golfer in the country according to Golfweek. Inglis, however, is focused only on the guys wearing purple.

“We’re good enough to play really well and contend if we take care of business, and that’s what we’re gonna worry about,” Inglis said. “If we take care of the process of playing good golf, we’ll be happy with the results at the end of the day.”

This approach was essential to Wu’s victory at the Gifford in 2014. After starting the tournament two strokes over par through four holes, he rebounded to finish nine strokes under par.

Wu also overcame a nearly disastrous double bogey on the 15th hole on the final day of competition, birdying the final two holes to win by one stroke.

Despite his success last year, Wu has continued to work on the mental aspect of his game along with Inglis and Pat Goss, NU’s director of golf and player development.

“I’ve gotten better over the last year at controlling my emotions and trying not to let them roll over on to the next hole,” Wu said. “Being patient and being committed to every shot, those combinations are really the key to my success.”

Although Wu is the defending champion in California, Whalen led the team at its most recent event, the Bridgestone Golf Collegiate at UNC-Greensboro.

Whalen shot three strokes under par for the tournament, finishing tied for eighth place overall. This week he is seeking to repeat that success against tougher competition.

“We’re trying to carry some of the momentum we had after a couple rounds there into this tournament,” Whalen said. “We’ve been close in the last two tournaments, and we’re just looking for a strong finish to our fall.”

With Whalen coming off a strong performance, Jamieson improving after his rough start at the Fighting Illini Invitational in September and Wu looking to defend his title, there are plenty of reasons for optimism heading into this week. The Gifford will be NU’s final tournament of the fall season before the Wildcats return to action in February with Big Ten Match Play in Florida.

Similar to his one shot at a time approach on the course, Wu is not focused on anything beyond this tournament.

“We’re just going to enjoy our last tournament of the fall and put together three good rounds as a team,” Wu said. “On the last day, to have a chance to compete and win the tournament would be nice.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @joe_f_wilkinson