Women’s Golf: Wildcats continue strong start with second top-5 finish this week


Daily file photo by Ben Pope

Sarah Cho chips out of a sand trap. The senior recorded the second-lowest round in Northwestern history at the Mason Rudolph Invitational.

Joseph Wilkinson, Assistant Sports Editor

Women’s Golf

For the second time this week, Northwestern held its own against top competition, finishing fifth at the Mason Rudolph Championship in a tournament that featured four other top-25 teams.

The scores were low in Franklin, Tennessee all weekend, and the Wildcats’ 17-under-par finish was 24 strokes behind tournament winner Arkansas. Eight teams in the field of 15 were under par.

The Cats were led by junior Stephanie Lau and senior Sarah Cho, who tied for 14th in the individual competition. Cho led the team Saturday with a 6-under second round, the second-lowest single round score in school history.

“The biggest thing was our attitude,” Cho said. “Even though it was really hot, and we were a bit tired, we were ready to go out and play another 18 and just make as many birdies as we could. Our attitude and our stamina were both really good.”

Cho was one of the best players on par-3s in the entire tournament, finishing with the second-lowest score on the short holes among all competitors.

Senior Hannah Kim and junior Janet Mao also turned in quality performances, both finishing in the top 25 of the individual competition. While neither impressed like Cho, both played at or below par for the entire tournament.

“They really responded well when they did make mistakes,” coach Emily Fletcher said. “They showed some good resilience out there. When we had some unforced errors and things they were disappointed in, they really moved forward. That was the best mark of maturity that I saw.”

With Kacie Komoto graduating last year, the Cats added a new face to the lineup in sophomore Brooke Riley. While Riley had the highest score on the weekend, her performance was still good enough to tie for 37th in an 80-person field.

As NU looks to return to the NCAA Championships, Riley has big shoes to fill.

“We have four of our five starters back, so that really bodes well for us,” Fletcher said. “Brooke has stepped right in as our fifth player and really shown us some good maturity and growth on her part building off of her summer.”

This week represented a change from the Cats’ normal schedule, and it’s the only time this year that NU will play in two different tournaments in the same week. Earlier this week, the Cats took second at the Dick McGuire Invitational.

Despite limited practice time, NU’s skill has shined through in its two top-5 finishes in highly competitive fields.

“We look back on it, and the memories we made are pretty awesome, but at the start of the season coach told us it’s a new page,” Lau said. “We are pretty pleased with what we’ve done. We’ve seen some good golf, and there’s still a lot to build on.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @joe_f_wilkinson