Men’s Golf: After three-month hiatus, Cats gear up for Big Ten Match Play


Daily file photo by Lauren Duquette

Everton Hawkins tees off. The sophomore and the Wildcats open the winter season at Big Ten Match Play in Florida this weekend.

Sophie Mann, Web Editor

Men’s Golf

After a three-month break in competition, Northwestern will start up the winter and spring season with Big Ten Match Play in Palm Coast, Florida, this weekend.

Coach David Inglis said the golfers are looking forward to competing again after a rocky fall season. Inglis said he told the team to buckle down after a slow start to the fall, and they did just that by winning their last two tournaments.

The team has been working hard in the gym this winter and on their two training trips to Florida and Arizona, Inglis said. As a northern school, the team uses winter a bit differently than schools in warmer areas, he said.

“We’re a little anxious to see how we’re playing and get back there,” Inglis said. “It’s kind of like we start a new season again.”

Although they haven’t competed for Northwestern since October, senior Dylan Wu said that most of the team members play one tournament over the break to keep up their skills. Additionally, the first practice trip was one week into the quarter and the second came at the end of January, about two weeks from competition. This, Wu said, makes the season seem more continuous, even with the break.

What makes this competition both special and a challenge, Wu said, is that it marks the first match play tournament of the year and of the freshmen’s collegiate match-play careers. In contrast to this one, most of the tournaments the team plays during the year are stroke play, which Wu said means they play against the course more than they have to strategize against a specific opponent.

“Match play is a different kind of golf; you don’t have to focus on every shot,” Wu said. “It’s a little bit of a more aggressive mentality in match play … you’re playing against an opponent. Strategy is a big thing.”

Despite this being his first opportunity to take on Big Ten Match Play, freshman Eric McIntosh said that he feels ready for and enjoys match play. He said that growing up in Britain, match play was common — especially at European events — and he feels as though he thrives in the one-on-one environment.

McIntosh and Wu both echoed Inglis’ excitement about getting back into competition. Despite only Illinois breaching the Top 25 at No. 15, Inglis said the Big Ten is not a golf conference to overlook. He said this event is a chance to get the season started with 72 holes of competitive play with less impact on the rankings than stroke play tournaments have.

“As far as Illinois is concerned and the rest of the Big Ten … we’re looking forward to the competition,” Inglis said. “We’ve got Nebraska in the first match on Friday, and we aren’t looking much past that.”

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