Men’s Golf: Wildcats have ‘disaster’ showing at Big Ten Championships ending in 13th place


Daily file photo by Alison Albelda

Ryan Lumsden lines up for a putt. The senior had a rough showing at the Big Ten Championships, but was named NU’s first-ever Byron Nelson Award winner this week.

Troy Closson, In Focus Editor

Men’s Golf

A week ago, coach David Inglis was hopeful Northwestern could bring home a title in the “wide-open field” at Big Ten Championships. But as the weekend in Pennsylvania progressed, the Wildcats fell apart over the tournament’s three days.

NU finished in 13th place out of 14 teams, in what Inglis called the team’s “worst” showing of the year.

“We just did not perform anywhere near our expectations,” Inglis said. “I’ll be racking my brain trying to figure what happened. It was just really disappointing that we couldn’t even just stem the tide and grind out a respectable finish. It was just a bit of a disaster really.”

The Cats finished 62-over-par, one stroke behind 12th place Maryland — but far off the 28-over final team score of first-place Illinois, which won its fifth straight conference title. As has been the issue all season, turbulent showings from four of the team’s five golfers hurt NU throughout the at the Philadelphia Cricket Club.

After Day 1 of the conference championships, the Cats sat in ninth after shooting 15-over on the back of freshman David Nyfjäll’s 2-over performance. Nyfjäll also knocked in one of the afternoon’s two eagles. While sophomore Eric McIntosh, junior Everton Hawkins and freshman Lucas Becht all shot 4- or 5-over, senior Ryan Lumsden struggled on the Wissahickon Course’s back-nine — carding three bogeys and one double bogey to finish 8-over.

Nyfjäll also shot 8-over in round two, before the freshman shot an even-par 70 Sunday to end the weekend tied for 11th place. Inglis called it a “solid performance.”

The same couldn’t be said of NU’s four other golfers.

Though Lumsden went 6-over in round two — second-best on the team — the next day, he bogeyed or double bogeyed holes 13 through 16 to end a team-worst 9-over.

He and the team’s other golfers struggled on Par 4s as the Cats went 73-over on those holes, the second-worst of the tournament behind last-place Wisconsin. That ultimately made the biggest difference, Inglis said, as Illinois took 30 fewer strokes on the Par 4s.

With 25 mile-per-hour wind gusts Saturday, Inglis called the conditions the “toughest we’ve seen all year.” And the team struggled to rebound, he said, once things started to go south as a result.

“We let our emotions get the best of us at times,” Inglis said. “We get too frustrated too quickly. And we weren’t able to just hang in there and persevere.”

Though Inglis said Lumsden was disappointed after the trip to the East Coast, the Scottish international did receive some good news earlier in the week.

After he was named a finalist for the Byron Nelson Award last month, Lumsden was announced as the winner Thursday. The award recognizes a nominee’s “entire collegiate academic and golf career as well as his character and integrity while in college.” Though four other Wildcats golfers — including Dylan Wu last year — have been tapped as finalists, Lumsden’s the first from Evanston to win.

“It really goes to the most outstanding senior in college golf,” Inglis said. “So for him to win was really special and something that means a lot to all of us.”

What’s next for NU won’t be clear until Wednesday night, when the team finds out whether it has done enough for a bid to NCAA Regionals. Inglis said he’s optimistic when looking back at the entire season, but that hasn’t made the wait easier:

“It’ll be a nervous couple of days.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @troy_closson

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