Women’s Golf: Wildcats turn in another solid performance against top competition

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Women’s Golf: Wildcats turn in another solid performance against top competition

Brooke Riley examines the slope prior to putting. The junior finished tied for seventh.

Brooke Riley examines the slope prior to putting. The junior finished tied for seventh.

Alison Albeda / Daily Senior Staffer

Brooke Riley examines the slope prior to putting. The junior finished tied for seventh.

Alison Albeda / Daily Senior Staffer

Alison Albeda / Daily Senior Staffer

Brooke Riley examines the slope prior to putting. The junior finished tied for seventh.

Joe Wilkinson, Reporter

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Women’s Golf


It was business as usual for Northwestern at the Windy City Collegiate Classic this week — holding its own against some of the best teams in the country and finishing tied for fourth place.

The Wildcats had a unique advantage at this week’s tournament: they were playing at home, just up the road in Wilmette at the Westmoreland Country Club.

“It’s a very challenging golf course, difficult greens, very fast, lots of scope,” coach Emily Fletcher said. “Westmoreland was gracious enough to let us play four or five times prior to the tournament. It gives you a little bit more knowledge, a little bit more patience, knowing to play to the fat side of some of these holes, knowing what hole locations were ones you could attack and ones you had to be a little more conservative with.”

NU may have been at home, but it was still a new look for the Cats. With two program legends in Hannah Kim and Sarah Cho graduating in the spring, Fletcher and her staff faced the daunting challenge of replacing their production in the lineup.

So far this season, the task has fallen to freshmen Kelly Sim and Kelly Su, with seniors Stephanie Lau and Janet Mao and junior Brooke Riley maintaining their places in the lineup.

In only her third collegiate tournament, and up against some of the best golfers in the country including Virginia Elena Carta, the 2016 individual NCAA national champion, and 2018 team champions Arizona, Sim finished tied for seventh.

“The best part of my game had to be my putting,” Sim said. “At the last tournament I really struggled with my putting… I kept pulling my putts, but I really worked hard on it. Coach Emily, coach Beth (Miller) and coach Pat Goss really helped out with my putting, and it was neat to see the results.”

It wasn’t even the first time Sim showed the promise that could make her one NU’s top contributors for years to come. In her first tournament, the Dick McGuire Invitational, she finished 10th overall before dropping back to 50th at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate.

Sim was joined in seventh place by Riley, who started the tournament 2-over-par after the first round before firing back-to-back under par rounds, making birdie on four of her final six holes in round two to catapult herself into contention.

“Not everything was great, but I just kind of kept it in front of me and kept it together,” Riley said. “At Westmoreland, especially with how they re-did the course, the tee (shots) are huge. My driver and 3-wood were just consistent, and I was hitting targets off the tee, which was huge.”

Riley and Sim have started the season strong, but Sim’s fellow freshman Su has had a much rougher introduction to college golf. Su has been the highest-scoring golfer among the team’s five counting scores in each of her first three tournaments with the Cats.

Su’s closest competitor for the final spot is likely senior Monica Matsubara, who has been part of NU’s six-member squads in the unique Big Ten Championships format. Matsubara has struggled in those events and competed as an individual at this week’s event. She finished with the fourth-best score of any Cats golfer on the weekend, bested by Riley, Sim and Lau.

“Replacing Hannah and Sarah, we’ve got the firepower within our lineup to do that,” Fletcher said. “It’s just a matter of understanding where we’re still lacking and where we need to improve. We’ll continue to work on that and look to be a little bit better each week and certainly a lot better by the springtime.”

Email: josephwilkinson2019@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @joe_f_wilkinson

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