Women’s Golf: Led by Big Ten Golfer of the Year Irene Kim, NU ready to break through in 2022


Daily file photo by Alison Albeda

Irene Kim watches her swing. Kim will look to defend her Big Ten Golfer of the Year title in the 2021-22 season.

Patrick Andres, Senior Staffer

Northwestern enters the 2021-22 golf season poised to go as far as bonafide superstar Irene Kim can take it.

Kim, a junior, was a lightning rod for accolades throughout the 2021 season, during which she amassed top-five finishes in four tournaments. She delivered a second place showing at the Big Ten Championship in Ohio, carding a 4-under 67 in the final round. Kim was named the conference’s Golfer of the Year — the third Wildcat in the last seven years to claim the honor — and garnered All-America honors from Golfweek and the Women’s Golf Coaches Association. 

To top it off, she played in the Arnold Palmer Cup in June, going 2-2 in her matches as the U.S. knocked off the International team 33-27 in the Ryder Cup-style event. 

Numerous other returnees will make NU a dangerous team in 2022. Senior Kelly Sim, another All-Big Ten performer, is coming off a ninth-place finish at the Big Ten Championship. Two more players, sophomores Jieni Li and Jennifer Cai, are back from a team that finished 12th at the NCAA Regionals. Li’s 12-over 225 at Regionals trailed only Kim and Sim among Cats golfers, and Cai won her collegiate debut in a match play event against Ohio State in January. 

Senior Kelly Su, who played at the Big Ten Championships, also returns. Brooke Riley, a 24th-place finisher at the Big Ten Championships and the team’s Sportsmanship Honoree as a graduate student, will not be returning. 

Kim, Sim, Li, Cai and Su will try to lead NU to its first appearance in the NCAA Championships since 2019, where the Cats finished 13th in a 24-team field. 

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Twitter: @pandres2001

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