Men’s Golf: The Cats land at No. 11 of 14 in Big Ten Match Play


Daily file photo by Lauren Duquette

Dylan Wu tees off. The senior and the Wildcats struggled at Big Ten Match Play, finishing 11th.

Sophie Mann, Web Editor

Men’s Golf

Northwestern returned to competition after three months this weekend in Palm Coast, Florida, playing four matches at the Big Ten Match Play tournament.

In their first match play competition of the 2017-18 campaign, the Wildcats finished 11th of 14. They opened the tournament strong, beating Nebraska 4-2 in the first round robin event and halving with Wisconsin in the second event, who came in third overall. NU’s other victory was against Rutgers, whom the Cats defeated 5.5-0.5.

Things got hazier during the third round robin event, which was cut down to nine holes due to fog, as No. 15 Illinois swept the Cats 5-0.

Coach David Inglis said this weekend was a good opportunity to get back into competition mode and knock some of the rust off before moving into stroke play.

“I was more encouraged with the overall performance,” Inglis said. “If it was stroke play, we would’ve played pretty well. Those are the encouraging things in the end.”

Junior Ryan Lumsden also said he was pleased with his team’s performance. He said he has seen improvement in everyone’s games since the start of the winter season.

This event serves as preparation for the stroke play tournaments to come, Lumsden said, as it helped the team get back into the “we’re out here to win” mentality. Next week, the team will be off to the Prestige at PGA West, featuring golfing powerhouses such as No. 11 Stanford and No. 10 Louisiana State.

“The level of competition is going to significantly increase,” said Lumsden, who banked wins against both the Cornhuskers and the Badgers. “A lot of them are warm weather schools … We’re going to have to play better if we want to win.”

The Cats got their first taste of top-25 competition against the Fighting Illini, who have won the Big Ten Championship eight times in the last nine years. Senior Sam Triplett said the match allowed the Cats to see where their own game stood, and that the team was proud of their game and prospects moving forward, even though the score was not close.

Due to the differences in match play competitions, Inglis said this competition does not necessarily determine their performance in future stroke play. However, Inglis, Lumsden and Triplett all noted the importance of this past weekend, and the opportunity to get out and test the water was vital to continue moving forward comfortably.

Triplett said the ability to make mistakes without setting the team back irreparably made it easier to remain in the moment and try his best, which is key for doing well in the tournaments ahead.

“Match play really teaches you that you can’t really dwell on the previous few holes. The best way to improve your score and improve the team is to move on quickly,” Triplett said. “When you’re playing stroke play tournaments it’s hard to think like that. … But really the best thing to help the team is to just stay in the moment, do your best and see what happens.”

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