Women’s Golf: Northwestern looking for its third straight Hurricane Invitational title


Daily file photo by Nathan Richards

A Northwestern golfer follows through on her putt. The Wildcats are looking to improve upon their 22-over par finish two weeks ago.

Joseph Wilkinson, Reporter

Women’s Golf

Few would consider a top-5 finish against some of the best teams in the country a disappointment, but No. 7 Northwestern is looking for a bounceback performance this week after shooting 22-over-par and tying for fifth in the Lady Puerto Rico Classic.

The past two years the Wildcats have come back from similar well-over-par top-5 finishes in Puerto Rico to take first place in the following tournament, the Hurricane Invitational, and this year they’re looking to continue their success in Miami.

“I’m looking for us to make a few more birdies, and just being a little tidier around the greens,” coach Emily Fletcher said.

NU’s main concern throughout the 13-day break has been the putting game, and the Cats will look to improve their play near the pin in Miami.

Junior Kacie Komoto, who shot 3-over-par and led NU in Puerto Rico, will be a key part of that effort this weekend.

“I worked on a lot of putting,” Komoto said. “In Puerto Rico I missed out on some opportunities to make birdies, and I think that hurt me. I also worked on my swing because in Puerto Rico it wasn’t as good as I would like it to be, and I think that cost me a couple strokes here and there.”

Komoto led the team in Puerto Rico, but she hasn’t been the only one looking to improve on the greens heading into Miami.

Sophomore Hannah Kim’s main focus has also been her putting as she looks to improve on the 5-over 221 she posted in Puerto Rico.

“I worked a lot on my short game and putting just because we have a really good indoor facility, so that’s what I took advantage of,” Kim said. “I try just to stay patient and just focus on one shot at a time, not to get too far ahead of myself, and play consistently.”

While the team’s main focus during the break has been on its short game, the Cats haven’t neglected other key elements despite being limited to indoor practice.

Last year in Miami, as well as this year in Puerto Rico, NU has taken advantage of par-5s, shooting 17-under-par as a team on such holes at last year’s tournament, six shots better than the next best team, Purdue. Fletcher said the team’s domination of par-5s is due to a number of factors.

“Some of it has been putting fundamentals, some of it’s been getting a little more speed back, trying to stay aggressive and create more clubhead speed,” Fletcher said. “Overall it’s just been more of the same, good short game work, wedge work, that sort of thing.”

That aggression has been a crucial part of the team’s success the past two years in Miami, and the Cats will need it against a field that includes two top-25 teams in addition to NU. One of those teams is No. 16 Iowa State, who beat NU by two strokes in Puerto Rico.

Even with the team’s success in the past, Fletcher says the team isn’t feeling any extra pressure to defend its title.

“We just have to go out thinking new day, new year, new group of kids,” Fletcher said. “We’re just going to go out and do our best.”

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