Women’s Golf: Cats make NCAA Regional, Kim named Big Ten Golfer of the Year


Daily file photo by Alison Albeda

Irene Kim watches her swing. Kim was named the Big Ten Golfer of the Year Wednesday.

Charlotte Varnes, Assistant Sports Editor

Women’s Golf

For the eleventh straight time, Northwestern is headed to the NCAA Regional.

On May 10, the No. 20 Wildcats will travel to Stanford Golf Course in Palo Alto, Calif. to compete at the Stanford Regional. NU looks to build on its strong regular season that featured four top-five team finishes and a win over Ohio State during a January dual. However, the team will need to regain momentum following a fifth place finish at the Big Ten Championship with a score of +867.

The Cats are led by sophomore Irene Kim, who was named Big Ten Golfer of the Year Wednesday. Kim, the 2020 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, placed in the top-five at four matches this season, including a runner-up finish at the Big Ten Women’s Golf Championships. She capped off the regular season with a 71.81 stroke average and was also named to the All-Big Ten first team.

In addition to Kim, NU has support from several other strong players, including junior Kelly Sim, graduate student Brooke Riley and freshman Jennifer Cai, all of whom recorded top-25 finishes at the Big Ten Championship. Sim was also named to the All-Big Ten Second Team and Riley received a Big Ten Sportsmanship Award from the conference Wednesday. Kim, Riley and Sim rank among the top-250 players in DI women’s golf, as Kim leads the Cats with a No. 18 ranking.

NU has historically been successful in the postseason, reaching the NCAA Championship in seven consecutive years and capturing a runner-up finish in 2017. The squad also won the NCAA Regional at Shoal Creek in 2016.

Players have frequently received postseason honors as well. Kim is the fourth Cats’ golfer to be named Big Ten Golfer of the Year in the past seven years and the first to do so since Stephanie Lau received the honor in 2019.

The Cats will return to the NCAA Championship for the eighth time in a row, but they will need to overcome a challenging line-up of teams at Stanford first. The Regional features three teams ranked in the top-eight of the latest WGCA Coaches Poll such as Wake Forest, Oklahoma State and the University of Southern California, posing a significant test for the purple-and-white.

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Twitter: @charvarnes11

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