Men’s Golf: Northwestern earns season-best result at Kepler Intercollegiate


Daily file photo by Alison Albelda

James Imai swings his club. The junior hit 5-under in the first round of the Kepler Intercollegiate.

Lucas Kim, Assistant Sports Editor

Men’s Golf

After placing no better than seventh in any tournament this spring, No. 47 Northwestern concluded its regular season on a strong note, coming in third at the Kepler Intercollegiate.

The tournament — held in Columbus, Ohio on April 23 and 24 — marked the Wildcats’ best performance all year, highlighted by graduate student and tournament runner-up Varun Chopra’s stellar outing.

Chopra carded a 9-under 207, hitting just two strokes above the tournament’s leader and seven strokes below any other NU player. Chopra was the only Wildcat to hit under par in each of the three rounds.

Carried by his performance, NU finished 9-under-par, 21 strokes above No. 20 Illinois, who took home first place at the tournament for the second consecutive year. Host No. 35 Ohio State followed in second with a 17-under showing.

Other significant contributions came from senior David Nyfjäll, who earned a 14th place finish with a 2-under, and junior James Imai, who tied for 19th at 1-over.

Entering as one of the four top-50 teams playing in the tournament, the Cats found themselves in fourth place out of 13 after the first round. Imai shot an impressive 5-under, tying for second-best in the opening round, while Chopra kicked off his runner-up performance with a 3-under.

NU remained in fourth after the second round, led by graduate student Eric McIntosh’s 3-under, seven strokes better than his first round score.

Despite carding an even-par 288 in the final round, the Cats moved up into third place following 1-over and 3-over rounds from Kent State and Penn State, respectively. Both teams ended up tying for fourth, just two strokes worse than NU.

The Cats were able to maintain their position and avoid scoring over par largely due to Chopra’s 4-under final round, which included birdies in his last three holes.

NU’s third place finish marked an improvement from last year’s seventh place finish out of the 17-team field.

Leading the Cats at last year’s tournament was current junior John Driscoll III who, like Chopra, finished as the runner-up with a 1-under. No other NU player finished better than 7-over.

The Cats will now prepare for this weekend’s Big Ten Championships held at The Pete Dye Course at French Lick in Indiana. NU hopes to improve upon its third place finish at the championship last year.

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