Women’s Golf: Wildcats head to Stanford Intercollegiate to close fall season


Daily file photo by Allison Albeda

Brooke Riley walks down the course. The junior and the Cats will play in the Stanford Intercollegiate this weekend.

Joseph Wilkinson, Reporter

Women’s Golf

It’s been an up-and-down fall season for Northwestern in 2018, and the No. 16 Wildcats will look to close it on a high note on the West Coast when they travel to northern California for the Stanford Intercollegiate this weekend.

NU, which was an NCAA quarterfinalist at the NCAA championships last year, has finished fourth twice in its first three tournaments, with a 10th-place finish at the highly competitive Annika Invitational in mid-September.

“More than it being the last event of the fall, it’s just an opportunity for us to go out and make some gains in some areas where we needed to get some work done over the last couple weeks,” coach Emily Fletcher said. “That’s mostly what I’m looking forward to, an opportunity to compete again.”

It’ll be stiff competition once again for the Cats, as they’ll be up against three fellow quarterfinalists from last year: No. 1 UCLA, No. 3 Southern California and No. 22 Stanford, as well as 2017 National Champions and current No. 10 Arizona State.

While difficult, the field isn’t much different than competition in NU’s previous three tournaments, which have consistently featured top-10 teams with championship-level pedigree, including 2018 National Champions and now No. 13 Arizona and runners-up and current No. 2 Alabama.

“It’s a terrific field,” Fletcher said, “We always look forward to going up against the best in the country, and this will give us an opportunity to do that.”

This is the sixth straight year Fletcher has taken her squad to this event. While her team’s experience certainly doesn’t match that of the hosts, it should help with the development of the Cats’ upperclassmen.

Seniors Stephanie Lau and Janet Mao each saw the Stanford University course as sophomores, but the links have since been renovated marginally. Lau and Mao turned in solid performances in 2016, but will likely need to be even better if NU hopes to improve upon its eighth place finish that year.

“I know they’ve changed the course a bit,” Lau said. “It’s a good track, and I excited to see the new changes. From what I’ve heard, they haven’t changed too much, so I think knowing the course and being comfortable there may be an advantage.”

Lau and Mao will likely be joined by junior Brooke Riley and freshmen Kelly Sim and Kelly Su, who have stepped into the lineup for NU in each of its first three tournaments.

For Lau, the bittersweet nature of her final season has started to set in as she’s about to play her final event of her career.

“I’m approaching this tournament just like any tournament,” Lau said. “I am a bit more sentimental, I guess you could say, because it is my last fall tournament, but I’m excited to be here, and I’m excited to play.”

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