Men’s Golf: Wildcats struggle to 10th-place finish at Southwestern Jones Invitational

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Daily file photo by Nathan Richards

A Northwestern golfer chips the ball onto the green. The Wildcats dug a huge early hole by shooting a combined 16-over in the first round of the Southwestern Jones Invitational and weren’t able to recover.

Tyler VanderMolen, Reporter


Men’s Golf


For the second time in as many weeks, Northwestern found itself in an early hole after a lackluster first round.  This time, however, the Wildcats were unable to claw their way back.

NU closed out Winter Quarter with a 10th-place finish at the Southwestern Jones Invitational in Westlake Village, California, an event where the team placed third last year. The tournament’s 15-team field featured a number of top West Coast programs, but coach David Inglis made no excuses for his team’s performance.

“Unfortunately we came out this week and we just weren’t ready to compete, and that was pretty clear in that terrible first round,” Inglis said.  “It just seemed like when we hit a rough stretch we got down and started feeling sorry for ourselves, and when that happens things can start to snowball.”

An opening round team total of 16-over par left the Cats in 14th-place and looking up at the field after 18 holes at the North Ranch Country Club. Another comeback looked like it may have been in store after a solid second round total of 3-over pushed the team into 7th-place overnight, but a series of mistakes in the final round stopped the rally in its tracks, leading to a 7-over total for the day and a score of 26-over for the tournament.  

USC won the event at 26-under, followed by tournament host Pepperdine at 6-under and San Diego State at 1-under.

The Cats struggled in a number of areas and Inglis said he wants to see more toughness from his team after the disappointing performance.

“We are really going to have to work on developing that grit and that resilience over the next few weeks, especially with how tough our schedule gets, because we just didn’t show that this week,” Inglis said. “Things go wrong all the time in this game but you have to be able to weather the storm and keep fighting for every shot.”

NU was again led by senior Andrew Whalen, who continued a strong stretch of play with an even-par week and finished tied for 13th-place individually. Sophomore Dylan Wu finished in 31st at 5-over, followed by graduate transfer Harley Abrams at 10-over (tied for 42nd), senior Josh Jamieson at 11-over (tied for 46th), and freshman Pete Griffith at 15-over (tied for 64th).  Sophomore Sam Triplett shot 15-over competing as an individual and did not compete with the team.

While several of the team’s most consistent performers struggled this week, Whalen’s stellar play after taking a redshirt last season continues to be one bright spot for the Cats.

“I just feel like that time where I could focus exclusively on practicing and getting better has been really good for me,” Whalen said.  “I think it was another year to mature and I’m glad that I’ve been able to see the results.”

NU now heads into an extended break and will not take the course again until March 24 at The Goodwin, leaving it with plenty of time to reflect on the past week and address areas of concern. The Palo Alto, California tournament marks the beginning of a series of important events leading up to the Big Ten Championships at the end of April.

Inglis said he hopes to use the next few weeks to ensure that his team is rested and regrouped heading into this critical stretch.

“This break probably comes at a good time for us,” Inglis said.  “It gives the guys a chance to get caught up with school and make any tweaks that they need to to get ready for the most important part of the season.”

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