Men’s Golf: Northwestern looks to utilize experienced veterans in spring season


Daily file photo by Alison Albelda

A golfer finishes their swing. Northwestern comes into the spring season riding several top finishes from the fall and a competitive performance in the Big Ten Match Play tournament two weeks ago.

Kyle Leverone, Assistant Sports Editor

The world could use some golf.

While Northwestern students remain indoors due to sporadic February snow flurries and uncompromising humdrum work, the Wildcats have played solid golf in tropical locales.

Take graduate student Varun Chopra. He had a 70.27 scoring average in the fall through four tournaments and went 2-0 in the team’s most recent tournament, the Big Ten Match Play.

David Nyfjäll, who also went 2-0 in tearing up Big Ten competition two weeks ago, averaged 70.92 in the fall. This included a third-place finish en route to the Wildcats’ first-place finish in the Hamptons Intercollegiate tournament in October.

This team has some players. And this team can win some tournaments.

Ranked No. 29 in the country, NU comes into the spring season as the third-highest ranked team in the conference behind Illinois and Purdue. And the next tournament for the Cats starts Sunday — The Prestige in La Quinta, Calif. It includes six other top-30 programs and eight former NCAA D1 Champions. If you want to see how NU stacks up against elite competition, this is the tournament. 

Last year, the Cats finished in the middle of the pack 12th out of 24 teams with Chopra, Nyfjäll, and now-junior James Imai all tied for 44th at six-over. This year, with more experience and with some momentum coming from the fall season, the Cats look to move themselves up a couple of spots. 

After The Prestige, NU rides into Las Vegas the following weekend. And on Sunday, the Cats will be up against the house for their second stroke play event of the spring. 

Other looming trips include Palo Alto, Calif. for The Goodwin tournament a month later, and Augusta, Ga. for the Augusta Haskins Invitational a week after that. This NU team is sitting pretty with a schedule like that, but each tournament is one step closer to getting back to where they finished last year in the Big Ten Championship, third out of the 14 teams. This year, they look to aim even higher.

Although they’re not the ones in La Quinta and Las Vegas, Cats fans can find solace in one thing for now. Golf is back, and NU is ready to go. 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @KLever0ne15

Related Stories:

Men’s Golf: Wildcats look to ride momentum from fall into Big Ten Match Play tournament

Men’s Golf: Northwestern falters late, finishes ninth in NCAA Regionals

Men’s Golf: Northwestern grabs third-place finish at Big Ten Championship to qualify for NCAA Regionals