Women’s Golf: Northwestern to face cross-conference opponents in Columbia Classic Presented by Moon Golf


Daily file photo by Alison Albelda

Northwestern golfer Irene Kim watches her swing. The Wildcats finished tied for third place at this weekend’s Big Ten Championship.

MaryKate Anderson, Reporter

After winning the inaugural Big Ten Match Play tournament earlier this month, Northwestern looks to continue its successes at the Columbia Classic Presented by Moon Golf on Feb. 13 and 14.

The event, hosted by Columbia University, will take place on Duran Golf Club’s 18-hole, par 72 course in Viera, Fla. over three rounds. The first two rounds will be played continuously on Sunday while the final round will begin Monday morning. 

The Wildcats will compete in a field of 15 teams, including the Big Ten’s Illinois and Purdue. The reigning runner-up of the national championship, No. 2 Oklahoma State, is also slated to participate in the Columbia Classic. Other competitors hail from the Big 12, Southeastern Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference and the Ivy League.

Entering the weekend of the event, the Cats are ranked at No. 49 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, below their Big Ten opponents No. 32 Illinois and No. 36 Purdue. NU took down Purdue in the championship round of Big Ten Match Play on Feb. 1 while Illinois did not participate in the tournament. 

“We all have a shared goal to win the Big Ten and obviously make it to the NCAA finals,” sophomore Jennifer Cai said. 

Each of these events are stepping stones to the larger titles at stake at the end of the season — the Big Ten Championship and, ultimately, the NCAA regionals and championship. Continuing their momentum from earlier this month and the fall season could be the key to a successful spring for the Cats.

After winning each of her three matches in Big Ten Match Play and headlining the team’s victory, NU’s senior Kelly Sim was named Big Ten Golfer of the Week on Feb. 3. Sim was the only NU team member to finish the tournament with a perfect record and walked away with six birdies and 28 pars. 

The Edgewater, N.J. native was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team last spring before being recognized as a Big Ten Preseason Honoree this fall. 

Sim said there were health concerns, COVID-19-related and otherwise, within the team leading up to the start of the spring season. But the promise of competition has kept the team focused on what is to come. 

“We just keep our head down and try to control what we can control,” Sim said. “It just feels so good to be competing.”

These competitive events are back in full force this year. After the Columbia Classic, the Cats have three events remaining in the season to show their prowess before the Big Ten Championship. 

NU has switched to practicing indoors in the midst of winter weather, but Cai said the team has been able to successfully transfer that practice to outdoor competitive golf, like the Columbia Classic.

“It was definitely a boost of confidence winning (Match Play),” Cai said. “I think it’s going to give us some good momentum going into the season.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @mkeileen

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