Women’s Golf: Wildcats snag third place in second tournament of season


Daily file photo by Nathan Richards

A Northwestern golfer tees off. The Wildcats put together a solid showing at the Mason Rudolph Championship over the weekend, finishing third.

Joseph Wilkinson, Reporter

Women’s Golf

Northwestern put together another strong showing in Tennessee this weekend, as the No. 8 Wildcats claimed third place in the Mason Rudolph Championship.

Reigning back-to-back Big Ten Player of the Year, Hannah Kim led NU, finishing tied for eighth at 2-under par. The junior’s second round was her best of the tournament, as she fired a 2-under 70, the lowest round from any Cats golfer on the weekend.

“I was able to consistently hit it on the green,” Kim said. “If my putts were a little better, I think I could’ve shot a little lower, but definitely my ball-striking was pretty good.”

While NU took third at 7-over, it finished 46 strokes behind No. 3 Alabama, which dominated the entire tournament en route to first place. The Crimson Tide finished with the top four individual finishers and ended 39 strokes under par.

NU was even with Alabama after round one, but the Crimson Tide were 18 strokes better in the second round on Saturday and 28 strokes better on Sunday to cruise to victory. SMU took second after a strong final round to pass the Cats.

“We battled some tough conditions in the rain (Saturday),” coach Emily Fletcher said. “We didn’t adjust that well, playing longer, and just the speed of the greens was a little bit off. (Sunday) was a little better, but we didn’t take advantage of the par fives.”

Sophomore Stephanie Lau put together a good weekend to help NU hold on to a top-three finish despite the conditions. She finished tied for 12th on the tournament at 1-over par, 15 strokes behind Alabama’s Cheyenne Knight, who ran away with the individual title.

It was a strong bounce-back performance from Lau after she finished tied for 37th at 3-over in last weekend’s Dick Mcguire Invitational.

“A lot of putts didn’t drop, but we definitely stuck to our gameplan.” Lau said. “The greens were a big change, different grasses. We don’t play much on Bermuda grass in the South, so we definitely had to adjust to that.”

Sophomore Janet Mao, junior Sarah Cho and senior Kacie Komoto all turned in solid performances as Mao and Cho finished tied for 30th at 6-over, while Komoto finished one stroke back.

Freshman Brooke Riley struggled while competing as an individual, taking 52nd place in a field of 81 and finished at 11-over for the tournament. Nevertheless, Fletcher said there were positives to take away from the young golfer’s first collegiate tournament.

“(Riley) actually played very well tee-to-green,” Fletcher said. “Struggled a little bit on the greens, but we’re pleased with what we’re seeing in her and looking forward to what she’ll bring to the team in the coming weeks and months.”

After only Komoto finished over par in round one, Kim was the only one of the Cats to finish under par on round two, and only Lau finished under par in round three.

This was in stark contrast to the champion Crimson Tide, which had at least three golfers under par every day of the tournament, including on the final day where all five Alabama golfers shot under par, leading the team to a 25-under round on the final day.

“We just didn’t take advantage of some scoring opportunities out there,” Fletcher said. “Mentally, we just weren’t quite as good as we could’ve been.”

After trips to New Mexico and Tennessee, NU returns home in two weeks to host the Windy City Collegiate Classic, a tournament it won last year.

Because the Cats only get one home tournament each year, the team is looking forward to its chance at a home-field advantage.

“We’re super excited,” Lau said. “It’ll be fun because it’ll be a home crowd, and Glenview is a great track, so it’ll be a lot of fun.”

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