Men’s Golf: Wildcats head to Caribbean for Puerto Rico Classic


Daily file photo by Nathan Richards

A Wildcat plays a chip from just off the green. Northwestern continues its spring slate with a trip to the Puerto Rico Classic this weekend.

Tyler VanderMolen, Reporter

Men’s Golf

Northwestern will be trading snow and gray skies for sunshine and the heat of competition this weekend.

After spending most of the winter fine tuning their games indoors, the Wildcats’ traditional trip to the Puerto Rico Classic has long been a highlight of the team’s spring season. The Feb. 21 to 23 tournament in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, has historically featured several of collegiate golf’s elite programs, including perennial powers from the SEC and ACC.

Coach David Inglis said he knows his team will have its work cut out for it at the Rio Mar Country Club’s difficult River Course in its first stroke play event of the season.

“Not only is the field in this event always very competitive, but this is one of those tournaments where you know you’re going to be tested by the conditions,” Inglis said.  “It’s a tough course and the wind is always blowing, which is a good test for us after being inside all winter.”

NU will carry some momentum into the event after a strong second-place finish at the Big Ten Match Play Championships last weekend, and several members of the team said they believe the confidence gained from that performance is likely to carry over to Puerto Rico.

Senior Josh Jamieson said beating several of their Big Ten rivals has the team in a good place mentally.

“I think everyone on the team was feeling really good about their individual games after last week,” he said. “That’s something that will hopefully bode well for us going forward.”

Jamieson also said the Cats will be bolstered by the return of sophomore standout Dylan Wu, who missed the Big Ten Match Play while representing NU at the Northern Trust Open Collegiate Showcase in California.

Wu and Jamieson will be joined by senior Andrew Whalen, freshman Pete Griffith and freshman Luke Miller in this week’s lineup. Freshman Ryan Lumsden will also travel with the team and compete as an individual.

Although the Cats’ focus is squarely on their upcoming tournament, the trip also allows them to enjoy some of the off-course amenities the island has to offer. With only 18 holes scheduled for each of the event’s three days rather than the 36 that many tournaments require, there is ample time in the afternoons for the team to enjoy the beach and get a brief reprieve from the Chicago winter.

“We joke that golf is kind of secondary on this trip,” Jamieson said. “Of course that isn’t true, but this is one that everyone has circled on their calendars because it’s a chance to get in the sun, get some great food, and it’s really just an awesome time.”

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