Women’s Golf: Northwestern underwhelms at Lady Puerto Rico Classic, finishes fifth


Daily file photo by Nathan Richards

Sarah Cho walks to her ball on the putting green. The sophomore won the Big Ten Championship last spring.

Joseph Wilkinson, Reporter

Women’s Golf

The weather may have been gorgeous, but the play wasn’t quite as beautiful as the Wildcats expected it to be in the Lady Puerto Rico Classic.

No. 6 Northwestern shot 22 over par to tie for fifth place in the competition, 19 strokes behind first-place No. 5 Georgia. Junior Kacie Komoto, who was named Big Ten Golfer of the Week, led NU by shooting 3 over for the tournament and finishing tied for eighth.

“I think I did pretty well,” Komoto said. “I stayed pretty patient considering I still made quite a few bogeys out there, and I think my patience was rewarded in some way by the amount of birdies I made. That was really the key: staying patient and not letting myself get ahead of myself.”

Behind Komoto were sophomores Hannah Kim, who shot 5 over, and Sarah Cho, who, along with freshman Stephanie Lau, finished 7 over.

Although many top teams practice outside year-round, the Cats are limited to indoor practice for much of the winter. This means the first tournament of the spring season serves as a transition for NU.

Last year’s performance was almost a mirror image, as the team went 19 over in Puerto Rico before winning the next tournament, the Hurricane Invitational in Coral Gables.

“It’s just a good starting point for us, and I think that we have a lot of positives to take away,” coach Emily Fletcher said. “We’ll take the next couple of days to unpack what we did well and acknowledge that. Then we’ll zero in on a couple things we really need to improve on individually before we head back to Miami.”

The Cats’ fifth place finish was significantly better than other Big Ten teams in the field, including No. 19 Purdue. The Boilermakers shot 54 over par as a team to take 14th place in the 16-team tournament.

The closest conference opponent was Maryland, as the Terrapins finished 48 over par for the tournament. Fletcher, however, was not especially concerned with the results of other Big Ten teams.

“It’s really about us playing our best golf, not necessarily whether it’s an ACC team or an SEC team,” Fletcher said. “We’re just trying to be the best we can. There’s some teams that are really improving in the Big Ten, and any time we can beat them, obviously that’s a good thing, but I think overall we were striving to beat the best teams there, regardless of what conference they were in.”

NU finished behind three top-25 programs in addition to Georgia, as No. 8 Arkansas, No. 24 Texas Tech and No. 18 Iowa State rounded out the top four. No. 9 Kent State, another highly-ranked team impacted by cold weather, tied with the Cats for fifth.

Even with the underwhelming overall performance, Kim said she was not disappointed despite finishing behind lower-ranked teams.

“For me personally, I think it’s just a stepping stone to getting better,” Kim said. “Same for the whole entire team. We obviously didn’t win the tournament, but I think from this tournament on we can learn that once we step outside we’ll be able to get better and better.”

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