Men’s Golf: Late rally propels Wildcats to 9th-place finish at Robert Kepler Intercollegiate


Daily file photo by Nathan Richards

A Wildcat hits takes a swing at the ball. Northwestern struggled in poor conditions this weekend in Columbus, Ohio.

Tyler VanderMolen, Reporter

Men’s Golf

While the eyes of the golf world were fixed on the Masters over the weekend, Northwestern’s focus was squarely on bolstering its postseason resume at the Robert Kepler Intercollegiate.

It was a tale of two rounds for the Wildcats, who struggled mightily in the event’s first 18 holes before posting the best team score of the final round to finish tied for 9th place. Coach David Inglis made no excuses for his team’s lackluster first-round performance, which left them in 15th place out of 16 teams after day one of the Columbus, Ohio, tournament.  

“We’ll really have to step back and take a look at what exactly went wrong there, because that first round was just miserable all the way around, there’s no other way to put it,” Inglis said.  “For whatever reason we just didn’t come out ready to play.”

The Cats battled the elements throughout the tournament, including snow flurries and high winds. Originally scheduled for 36 holes Saturday and 18 on Sunday, the event was ultimately shortened to a single round each day, with both rounds temporarily delayed until the course was deemed playable.

Sophomore standout Dylan Wu would not blame NU’s early struggles on the difficult conditions, but said they provided a stiff challenge throughout the tournament.

“It’s just totally different than some of the tournaments we’ve played in Florida and California in the sense that 3- or 4-over-par on days like that is a really solid score,” Wu said.  “You’re grinding for every single shot, and it can make your mistakes compound pretty quickly.”  

The Cats’ second day turnaround was especially impressive considering, at least in the players’ estimation, the course actually played even tougher Sunday.  No team navigated the low temperatures and heavy gusts as effectively as NU, as it posted a score of 290 to better the day’s second-best score by 7 shots.

Inglis has repeatedly emphasized grit and toughness as keys to his team’s success throughout the season, and said he was impressed with the resolve the team displayed in closing out the tournament.

“You really have to give it to the guys, because they came out and battled today and showed what they’re made of,” Inglis said.  “It was hugely important that we come out and show that what happened on the first day isn’t who we are, and that’s exactly what they did.”

Wu and senior Josh Jamieson again set the pace for the Cats, both finishing at 7-over-par to tie for 18th place individually. They were followed by freshman Ryan Lumsden, who shot 11-over to finish tied for 49th; sophomore Sam Triplett in a 12-over tie for 51st; and senior Andrew Whalen at 17-over in 72nd.

The Cats’ final-round surge ultimately propelled them into a 9th-place tie with Liberty at 36-over-par, though the effort still left them behind the other five Big Ten teams competing in the event. Nevada-Las Vegas laid claim to the tournament title at 18-over-par.

Although the final result may not have been what the squad was looking for, Wu credited his coaches with having the team ready to compete in its second round and said he believes the momentum generated in Sunday’s round will serve the team well in the coming weeks.

“Saturday night the coaches really challenged us to come out with some fire and to turn things around, because we’re a whole lot better than what we showed,” Wu said.  “Clearly we responded to that, and I think that bounce back is important with the postseason coming up.”

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