Women’s Golf: Northwestern looks to reach NCAA Championship for first time since 2019


Daily file photo by Alison Albeda

Senior Irene Kim watches her swing. Kim struggled in 2021-22, but could break through once again for the Wildcats.

Charlotte Varnes, Managing Editor

After just missing the NCAA Championship in 2021-22, Northwestern will look to return to college golf’s greatest stage for the first time since 2018-19.

The Wildcats have long been a powerhouse under coach Emily Fletcher. NU made the NCAA Championship every year from 2013-19, finishing in the top 10 from 2015-18. 

While the Cats haven’t reached the championship in several seasons, the program was still successful in 2021-22. NU was undefeated in Big Ten match play and finished third at the Big Ten Championship. In their 12th-consecutive trip to the NCAA Regional, the Cats narrowly failed to advance to the NCAA Championship after losing a playoff against Purdue.

NU will return at least three of its five players from its NCAA Regional squad, including its top three finishers: juniors Jieni Li and Jennifer Cai and sophomore Lauryn Nguyen.

Nguyen, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, was a star for the Cats throughout last season. She finished in the top 10 in her first collegiate match and continued to make waves for NU, earning All-Big Ten honors along the way. She will certainly play a central role in 2022-23.

Depending on whether Kelly Sim and Kelly Su take their fifth year of eligibility, the Cats may have two open slots in their lineup. Senior Irene Kim, the 2021 Big Ten Golfer of the Year, struggled throughout 2021-22, but could break through and make the lineup once again in 2022-23. Incoming freshman Dianna Lee, the No. 22 recruit in the country, could make an instant impact as well.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @charvarnes11

Related Stories: 

Women’s Golf: Northwestern striving for new heights at NCAA Championships

Women’s Golf: Lau, Sim lead Wildcats to top-five finish to start season

Women’s Golf: Stephanie Lau shoots a 72, pars iconic ‘Redbud’ at Augusta National