Men’s Golf: Wildcats prepare for top-25 heavy field at Southern Highlands Collegiate


Daily file photo by Lauren Duquette

Dylan Wu tees off. The senior and the Wildcats are looking at a tough field in the Southern Highlands Collegiate this week.

Sophie Mann, Web Editor

Men’s Golf

After finishing sixth at The Prestige at PGA West in late February, Northwestern heads to Las Vegas for the Southern Highlands Collegiate, where the Wildcats will face seven of the country’s top 25 teams.

It will be deja vu for NU as it faces off against teams that it has met earlier in the season. The team took down No. 14 USC at The Prestige and will have the opportunity to rendezvous with the Trojans again this week.

The Cats will also face off against conference rival No. 18 Illinois, to whom they lost 5-0 at Big Ten Match Play to kick off the season in February. Coach David Inglis said the opportunity to face the Fighting Illini again comes at a good time in the season.

“We just have to be ready to be good and competing on every shot,” Inglis said. “This event is one of top three events in college golf, so it’s great to be a part of that to finish off our winter season.”

Inglis said his team’s goal is to go out and perform as well at they can on the fairways and on the greens, which he said are particularly firm and fast compared to other courses. He added that it’s less about NU playing against other teams; rather, the team will be playing against the course, which is what Inglis deemed the “beauty of stroke play.”

In addition to the teams they’ve already faced, the Cats will need a peak performance if they hope to beat No. 2 Alabama. The Crimson Tide put up back-to-back national championships in 2013 and 2014 and three SEC championships in the last six years.

Alabama also boasts Davis Riley, who currently sits at No. 2 in the nation, just below No. 1 Justin Suh of USC. Inglis said he and the team are excited to evaluate their performance against teams of this caliber.

“We can’t control the other teams,” Inglis said. “It’s not so much we’re going into it saying, ‘We have to beat this team or we have to beat that team.’ … We know what we need to do to focus on the task at hand.”

Sophomore Everton Hawkins said that, though the Cats have played in similarly challenging events, this field is the strongest one in which they’ve played this season. Hawkins said they have taken their opportunities to get outside and prepare for these types of fields, which in turn will help them moving into the spring season.

Freshman Eric McIntosh agreed with Hawkins, saying NU’s productive winter prepares the team for this final event and that the Cats are happy with their games. Competing at the highest level, McIntosh said, allows them to learn and prepare for the country’s most competitive teams.

“It’s an opportunity to compete against so-called big teams,” McIntosh said. “Beating them is pretty enjoyable. … We’re very excited for this week.”

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