Men’s Golf: Northwestern opens season with middling performance against difficult field


Daily file photo by Nathan Richards

Dylan Wu lines up a putt. The junior led the way at the Fighting Illini Invitational, shooting 3-over-par.

Benjy Apelbaum, Reporter

Men’s Golf

Northwestern teed off its 2016 season this weekend at the Fighting Illini Invitational, a tournament stacked with many of the nation’s top teams.

The Wildcats finished tied for 11th out of 15 schools with a score of 42-over-par. Dylan Wu paced the Cats, leading the way with a score of 3-over. Wu finished tied for 12th in a field of 78.

“It was a positive week for the team,” Wu said. “We played OK, but we could have played a lot better.”

NU faced tough competition in its opening tournament of the season, as the invitational featured eight teams ranked in the top 25, including the nation’s top four teams. The tournament course, the Olympia Fields Country Club, has a distinguished history and has hosted two U.S. Opens.

“It’s difficult starting the year on a tough course with such a good field, but we’re used to tough conditions, fast greens and tough tree lines,” coach David Inglis said.

NU returned four starters from last year’s team, with sophomore Luke Miller the only new face to the lineup.

Redshirt senior Andrew Whalen, the Cats’ most experienced player, recovered from a shaky opening round with a one-over in the second round. Whalen’s strong second round propelled him to a 13-over on the tournament, as he finished tied for 42nd.

“The team had a lot of positives and played really solid golf, so each week we can only go up from here,” Whalen said.

Inglis also said he took away plenty of positives from the tournament, adding that the team finished tied with No. 19 Arizona State and ahead of No. 16 Alabama — teams NU may face again in NCAA Tournament play.

To compete with top teams at the end of the season, the Cats will need contributions throughout the lineup. Sophomore Ryan Lumsden had the team’s second-best score of the tournament with an 11-over, tying for 36th. Junior Sam Triplett and Miller posted scores of 19-over and 21-over, landing them in ties for 66th and 60th, respectively.

Both the coach and players echoed that a few key strokes prevented them from having an excellent weekend. In spite of the missed opportunities, Inglis remained optimistic about the Cats’ season.

“This affirmed our goals for the year,” Inglis said. “We know we are good enough that at the end of the year we can compete for a Big Ten championship. Those goals don’t change no matter what.”

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