Men’s golf: Balanced Northwestern team in prime position to contend after 2020 success


Daily file photo by Alison Albelda

James Imai swings his club. His last tournament of the 2020 season was his best, a 10th-place finish at the Desert Mountain Collegiate in Arizona.

Patrick Andres, Reporter

Men’s Golf

2020 was a strong year for Northwestern on the links, as the Wildcats finished the year No. 36 in Golfstat’s ranking of Division I men’s teams.

NU’s crowning achievement came Feb. 7 and 8, when the Cats ventured to Florida and returned with their fifth Big Ten Match Play title. It was one of four top-three finishes on the year for NU, along with a second-place finish at the Marquette Intercollegiate in Wisconsin, a third-place finish at the Crooked Stick Collegiate in Indiana, and a third-place finish at the Desert Mountain Collegiate in Arizona, the Cats’ final competition before sports’ cancellations. All told, NU finished, on average, in the top 38 percent of teams in the seven tournaments in which it competed.

Junior David Nyjfäll, from Uppsala, Sweden, averaged 71.83 strokes per round to lead the Cats in 2020. He compiled 12 under-par rounds on the year, six more than his closest teammate, and accounted for three of his teams’ five individual top-five finishes in stroke play tournaments. Senior Eric McIntosh led the team with four top-25 finishes and shot an impressive 3-under at the Marquette Intercollegiate, good for a season-best seventh-place finish. John Driscoll III and James Imai both posted strong numbers in their freshman seasons; Driscoll’s 65 at the Prestige in California represented NU’s low round in 2020, while Imai peaked with a 10th-place finish at the Desert Mountain Collegiate.

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