Women’s Golf: Wildcats secure Big Ten Match Play tournament championship, launch spring season


Daily file photo by Alison Albelda

A Northwestern golfer watches her swing. Six Wildcat golfers traveled to Palm Harbor, Fla. to compete in the Big Ten Match Play tournament on Monday and Tuesday, which they ultimately won.

MaryKate Anderson, Reporter

Women’s Golf

Northwestern women’s golf returned to the green this week and began their spring season with the Big Ten Match Play tournament on Monday and Tuesday.

The No. 3 seed Wildcats ultimately left Palm Harbor, Fla. as champions, defeating top-seeded Purdue in the final round by a mark of 4-2-0 on Tuesday. NU won both their quarterfinal match against Penn State and their semifinal against Ohio State on Monday before heading into match play against the Boilermakers.

The Cats’ victory over Purdue was their most decisive win of the tournament. Senior Kelly Sim, sophomores Jennifer Cai and Jieni Li and freshman Lauryn Nguyen each sealed wins over their opponents before all 18 holes were played.

Cai said despite falling behind at one point in their Tuesday matches, she and Sim were able to keep cool and use energy from each other and their teammates to push forward.

“At the end of the day, having our teammates watch us and having each other to bounce back and forth off of was really helpful and really important to help us win our match,” Cai said.

Sim, who was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team last spring, won each of her three matches over the two days and was the only NU team member to do so. She defeated Penn State’s Mathilde Delavallade 1-up, Ohio State’s Alexis Phadungmartvorakul up 1 through 14 — before the round was cut short due to darkness — and Purdue’s Danielle DuToit 2 and 1. Sim’s reliability proved to be an asset for the Cats as they competed against conference rivals.

“It just feels so good to be competing,” Sim said. “It was huge to be able to win against our Big Ten competitors and also in a match play format. ”

This weeks’ matches were the first chance for Nguyen to face the Big Ten slate in her collegiate career.

Nguyen had her share of successes in the fall season, finding a top-10 and top-20 finish in two of her four outings. In this week’s match play, the freshman found victories against Purdue and Ohio State, tying her Penn State opponent on Monday morning.

“It was definitely a boost of confidence winning this tournament, and very well-deserved,” Cai said. “It’s going to give us some good momentum going into the season.”

The Cats took fifth place in the Big Ten Golf Women’s Championship last April before falling out of NCAA Championship contention at the Stanford Regional in May. NU returns to the course on Feb. 13 and 14 for the Moon Golf Invitational in Melbourne, Fla.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @mkeileen

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