Women’s Golf: Northwestern heads west to Silverado Showdown

Joseph Wilkinson, Digital Projects Editor

Women’s Golf

Last year at the Silverado Showdown, Hannah Kim went out and tied for the individual championship with the current No. 1 player in the country, UCLA’s Lilia Vu, and helped power Northwestern to a tied-for-fourth-place finish.

This year, she’s back and looking for her first individual title of her senior season.

“I’m really excited to go back,” Kim said. “To me, it’s just another tournament. Just because I won last year doesn’t mean I’m guaranteed to win again this year, but I’m definitely going to go out there and try my best.”

Last year’s Showdown marked the second individual championship of Kim’s spectacular junior year and the third of her stellar career with the program. And while she’s piled up top-25 finishes at a consistent rate in her final collegiate season — her worst finish this year in six stroke play tournaments is 24th — she has yet to take home an individual crown.

With the Showdown returning to the same course at Silverado Resort and Country Club in Napa, California, where Kim carded a tournament-high 19 birdies in 2017, she’ll look to continue that impressive run of play.

“I obviously would love to win the tournament, but I’m just taking it one tournament at a time, and if it’s my time, it’s my time,” Kim said. “If not, then I know I played my best, and I tried my best.”

The Wildcats as a team are also looking for a breakthrough title-winning performance on the 2017-18 season.

NU hasn’t necessarily been struggling: The team has racked up five top-five finishes in six stroke play events. Expectations, however, are quite high for a team that has proven itself to be one of the most consistently talented squads in the country. The last season the Cats went an entire campaign without taking home a team championship was in 2011-12.

“Each and every time, our mantra is to show up and be the best we can be,” coach Emily Fletcher said. “We feel like if we do that, we’re going to measure up and stack up pretty well in the competition and be competitive for a tournament title.”

Taking home the season’s first title won’t be an easy task, as NU once again takes on a stacked field featuring No. 2 UCLA, No. 5 Southern California, No. 7 Texas and three other top-25 teams, including defending national champions Arizona State.

NU has been taking on top-level competition throughout the season, and with the Showdown representing the final regular season tournament before the Cats head to the Big Ten Championships in two weeks, the team is locked in preparing for the postseason.

Since Fletcher took over stewardship of the program for the 2008-09 season, NU has split three Big Ten Championships, but the veteran coach will still be looking for her first outright title later this April.

“We’re starting to build some momentum,” Fletcher said. “Everyone’s game is kind of rounding into good form right now, and certainly being able to go out to Napa and post some good numbers will give us some good vibes and good stuff to build on as we go into Big Tens.”

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