Women’s Golf: Northwestern, Jennifer Cai take third place in team and individual contests at Big Ten Championship


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

Women’s Golf

Northwestern notched a third place finish at the 2022 Big Ten Championship on Sunday, marking the Wildcats’ best finish in the 14-team event since 2017.

NU closed out the weekend tied at 12-over par with Ohio State, three strokes behind second place and seven behind first. Michigan and Michigan State took the top two spots, respectively.

Sophomore Jennifer Cai earned an impressive third place individual finish at the event — the highest of any NU golfer — at two-under par. Cai closed out the regular season with two top-15 finishes earlier this month.

Freshman Lauryn Nguyen also earned a top-10 finish, wrapping up the weekend tied at sixth place with a two-over. Both Cai and Nguyen earned spots on the 10-person All-Championship Team.

Senior Kelly Sim finished tied at 24th while sophomore Jieni Li and senior Kelly Su tied each other at 38th. Junior Irene Kim ended the event in 64th among the field of 84 golfers.

NU entered the event at No. 36 nationally, behind three of its Big Ten opponents. The team closed out Friday’s first round tied at sixth place, recording five-over par. Cai led the Cats with an even-par performance, landing her in the top ten of all competing golfers.

The second round proved to be the squad’s time to shine — NU hit three-under in Saturday’s play, the best among the tournament’s field. Cai shot up to third place with her own three-under performance, followed by Nguyen tied for 13th and Li in 19th. The Cats closed out the round tied for second place, just four strokes behind leading Michigan.

Though it came within striking distance of first place over the course of Sunday’s final round, NU was ultimately unable to complete its championship campaign. On a day when no team shot better than three-over, the Cats posted 10-over par in Sunday’s final round. Cai’s one-over par kept her in third place while Nguyen shot up seven places from her Saturday standing.

NU last faced all its Big Ten opponents in the Big Ten Match Play Championship on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, where it earned the first place spot.

In last year’s Big Ten Championship, the Cats earned a fifth place team finish while Kim played her way into second place and Sim earned a top-10 spot.

The team’s next obstacle will be the NCAA Championship. 72 teams and 36 individuals make it to a regional event each year, a feat which is historically a common occurrence for NU.

However, the road to the championship is more difficult — the Cats missed out on a championship berth in 2021 for the first time in eight years — but this team has the talent to carry its momentum through the postseason and into the championship.

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Twitter: @mkeileen

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