Men’s Golf: Northwestern hopes to rebound in lone home tournament


Daily file photo by Lauren Duquette

Everton Hawkins follows his bunker shot. The sophomore and the Cats hope to defend their home course this weekend at the Windon Memorial Classic.

Benjy Apelbaum, Assistant Sports Editor

Men’s Golf

After a rough start to the season, Northwestern hopes the advantages of playing at a home tournament will help it get on track.

The Wildcats will host the Windon Memorial Classic starting Sunday at Evanston Golf Club in Skokie. In golf, home-course advantage takes on a different meaning than in other sports.

“It’s the one time a year we get to play in front of our home fans,” coach David Inglis said. “That and our familiarity with the course rolls together to make it a special week.”

Most of the season, NU travels great distances around the country for tournaments –– usually in search of warm weather in the winter. Sunday, the Cats will make the short drive to Skokie to compete at a club they practice at regularly.

Senior Dylan Wu said experience on the course gives NU a unique advantage over its competitors.

“We’ve played (the course) a bunch of times, and we’ll be the best prepared team out of all the teams there,” Wu said.

Beyond familiarity with the course, more conventional home advantages could also help NU. This weekend will be the only chance for local fans to see the Cats all year, and, with temperate weather forecasted, spectators have more of a reason to show up.

Another reason the Cats enjoy playing close to home is because everyone on the roster will have the chance to compete, sophomore Everton Hawkins said. However, only the scores of the starting five will count toward the team’s overall score.

“It’s fun having all the guys on our team play, and I think we’ll have a lot of fans and families there as well,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins said he hopes fan support and the home atmosphere will boost the team’s morale after NU’s slow start this season. The Cats have finished 13th and 10th out of 15 teams in their two tournaments to start the year, and the rounds were marred by inconsistency, Inglis said.

While rust may have played a role in their first tournament, the Cats have had three more weeks of practice since then. Tournament lineups have also featured just one freshman, Eric McIntosh.

Inglis cited his players’ lackluster short games as one of the factors leading to NU’s struggles last week at the Erin Hills Intercollegiate. The whole team focused on chipping and putting in practice this week, Wu said.

Though the team has not lived up to expectations so far, the final round at Erin Hills was a bright spot as the Cats shot the fourth-best round of 15 teams that day. That performance gives Inglis hope his team will be able to please fans this weekend.

“We should feel pretty good going into (our home event),” Inglis said. “If we play like we did (Tuesday), we should have a good chance to win.”

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