Daily file photo by Alison Albelda
Northwestern’s men’s golf season teed off on February 5 and 6 in Palm Coast, Florida, and the Wildcats enjoyed a solid start with a sixth-place finish against an all-conference slate in the Big Ten Match Play tournament.
NU, the recipient of a first-round bye, started the tournament with an unscored game against Minnesota. The Cats picked up a 3.5-1.5 win in the exhibition, as sophomore James Imai, senior Eric McIntosh and freshman Chris Zhang scored victories to go with a halved match from junior David Nyfjäll.
Sledding was tougher for NU in Round 2, however, as Michigan State played the Cats to a 2.5-2.5 tie. Nyfjäll fell to the Spartans’ James Piot and Imai halved with Bradley Smithson, leaving graduate student Varun Chopra and McIntosh to pull out victories in NU’s scoring. Michigan State’s August Meekhof finished 2-up of Zhang to create the tie.
In Round 3, the Cats recovered to crush Purdue 4-1, with Imai, Chopra, sophomore John Driscoll III and Zhang emerging victorious in their matches. The Boilermakers’ Cole Bradley finished 1-up of McIntosh to deal NU its only loss of the match. The final margin was the second-most lopsided of the six matches played in Round 3, trailing only Rutgers’ 4.5-0.5 win over Nebraska.
The Cats closed out the tournament by falling 3-2 to Penn State in a tightly contested matchup that saw four matches decided on the final two holes. Nyfjäll finished 2-down to the Nittany Lions’ Ryan Davis in a matchup that went the full 18, while Imai and Chopra were edged out by scores of 3 and 2 and 2 and 1, respectively. NU’s two victories came via McIntosh, who knocked off Jimmy Meyers 3 and 1, and Driscoll III, who edged James McHugh 2 and 1.
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