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Men’s Golf: Late collapse, dramatic final hole knock Northwestern to second at Redhawk Invitational

Dylan Wu tees off. The junior won the Redhawk Invitational, but the Wildcats lost the team competition by one stroke.

Dylan Wu tees off. The junior won the Redhawk Invitational, but the Wildcats lost the team competition by one stroke.

Daily file photo by Lauren Duquette

Daily file photo by Lauren Duquette

Dylan Wu tees off. The junior won the Redhawk Invitational, but the Wildcats lost the team competition by one stroke.

Jonah Dylan, Print Development and Recruitment Editor

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Men’s Golf

Leading by six strokes with just three holes to go, Northwestern appeared poised for a Redhawk Invitational win. But Tripp Kinney had other ideas.

The Wildcats collapsed down the stretch Tuesday, eventually losing by one stroke to Iowa State after freshman Kinney eagled the final hole to give the Cyclones the win.

Junior Dylan Wu won the individual tournament, using a birdie on 18 to edge Santa Clara’s Hayden Shieh by a single shot. It was Wu’s best 54-hole performance with NU.

“I played pretty well,” Wu said. “Shooting 66 is my lowest college round. I made a lot of birdies and just really stayed patient and trusted my game. It was all about minimizing the mistakes.”

After 36 holes on Monday, Wu held a two-stroke lead while the Cats sat one stroke back of Iowa State. NU leapt to a sizable lead after shooting 2-under-par on the front nine Tuesday while the Cyclones fell behind with two double bogeys and a 5-over start to the day.

The Cats held their lead for most of the back nine but couldn’t hold off a surge from Iowa State on the last three holes. The Cyclones were powered by five birdies and two eagles in the final stretch, including Kinney’s dagger on the last green. Wu said he was impressed by the freshman’s performance.

“Tripp’s a great guy,” he said. “The shot he hit on the last hole was a 3-wood to about four or five feet, which was a great shot. What everybody dreams of is making that birdie or that eagle on the last hole to win and having your teammates watch.”

It was the second straight tournament where NU finished second. Last month, at the Desert Mountain Intercollegiate, the Cats lost by just two strokes to Michigan. On Tuesday, they closed that margin to just one.

Coach David Inglis said despite the loss, he was happy with his team’s performance.

“It’s disappointing not to win after being in position to most of the day, but overall I’m very encouraged with where we’re headed,” he said. “We’re coming into form at the right time.”

Inglis inserted Everton Hawkins into the starting lineup after he finished tied for sixth in Arizona, but the freshman shot 16-over, including a 9-over 80 during his first round Monday.

Graduate student Conor Richardson finished 8th overall and 2nd for NU, notching a 1-under 69 Tuesday to finish the tournament at even par.

Because of the tournament’s format, which featured a shotgun start where all golfers started at the same time on different holes, Ingles said it was difficult for anyone to know exactly what the margin was.

“You never really know where you stand,” he said. “As far as leads go, we try not to think about it too much, but it’s one of the things we talk about so much, is that we just have to focus on the task at hand.”

Wu’s win was the second individual win for the Cats this season after sophomore Ryan Lumsden’s win at the Marquette Invitational. He said he was excited to see what the team does going forward as it moves toward the Boilermaker Invitational on April 15.

“We’ve been playing well this entire spring,” he said. “We’re playing at a high level right now, and every tournament we play in, we have a good chance of winning. We’re peaking at the right point, because the next couple weeks are pretty crucial.”

Twitter: @thejonahdylan