Women’s Golf: Northwestern turns in another solid finish in top-tier field


Daily file photo by Ben Pope

Hannah Kim begins her backswing. The senior tied for 15th at the Silverado Showdown.

Joseph Wilkinson, Digital Projects Editor

Northwestern has been the picture of consistency this season, and the Wildcats continued their solid play at the Silverado Showdown this week, holding their own by finishing sixth in a talented field.

No. 11 NU was joined by No. 2 UCLA, No. 5 USC, No. 6 Stanford, No. 7 Texas, No. 13 Arizona State and No. 14 Arizona in Napa, California. The Cats finished ahead of Texas and Arizona State, but came in behind the other highly-ranked opponents. USC won the tournament by 10 strokes.

“It was challenging,” coach Emily Fletcher said. “Overall, I was very pleased. I wish we could’ve hung in there with another two or three shots. Finishing sixth seems a little maybe not great, but really we played very well the next two days.”

Senior Hannah Kim, who tied for the individual title in Napa in 2017, finished in a tie for 15th at 2 over par. Kim ended the tournament 10 strokes back of this year’s co-champions, USC’s Jennifer Chang and UCLA’s Patty Tavatanakit.

She was also one stroke behind fellow senior Sarah Cho, who tied for 12th at 1-over. Cho was NU’s most consistent golfer of the weekend, playing her final two rounds at even par after coming in 1-over after the first round.

“The biggest thing is to just try not to play too aggressively,” Cho said. “There are a couple tee shots where you can honestly hit a little bit shorter and not have to pinch it down the fairway. You need to be aggressive on the approach shots on to the green, but other than that, playing it … pretty safe was the key.”

Finishing just outside the top 25 were juniors Stephanie Lau and Janet Mao, each of whom carded scores of 5-over-par for the tournament to come in a tie for 28th.

For Mao, it was an up-and-down competition. She carded a first round 78, the highest score on the weekend among the five golfers competing for the team. However, she then bounced back with a final round 3-under-par at 69, which was the lowest score of any Cats golfer.

“I couldn’t even put my finger on the difference,” Mao said. “It was just a little bit of adjustments here and there with my swing and then a couple changes in decisions. I hit three-wood off the tee on a couple holes that I didn’t on the first day. And then just getting more reps in the putting game, doing a little better with the speed and matching my speed with my lines.”

NU has now completed its regular season schedule, but with the team’s recent history of success, its season is likely far from over. The Cats head to the Big Ten Championships in Maineville, Ohio, in two weekends looking to qualify for NCAA Regionals, and from there possibly onto the National Championships for the sixth straight year.

Fletcher said the key to the team’s improvement will be its attention to detail.

“We needed to start to build some momentum going into Big Tens, and really competing better and doing a better job of fighting for every shot,” Fletcher said. “At times we’ve picked wrong clubs and we’ve picked bad targets and we’ve just done some sloppy stuff … To the girls’ credit they did a really good job the last two days of really tidying it up.”

An earlier version of this story misidentified the golfer pictured in the photo. It is Hannah Kim. The Daily regrets the error.

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