Men’s Golf: Historic third round carries Northwestern to Windon Memorial Classic title


Esther Lim/The Daily Northwestern

A Northwestern golfer putts the ball at the Windon Memorial Classic. NU used a historic third round to capture the tournament title.

Lucas Kim, Reporter

Men’s Golf

Entering the final round of the 25th Windon Memorial Classic, sixth-place Northwestern needed to overcome a sizable 12-stroke lead to catch up with first-place Kent State.

But the team did just that.

The hosting Wildcats put up a historic 10-under 270 on Tuesday in front of their home fans, climbing up the leaderboard and securing a comeback victory for their sixth Windon Memorial Classic title. Their final round of 270 tied for the lowest team round in the tournament’s history.

Overall, the Cats carded a two-under performance, nine strokes ahead of runners-up Kent State and Little Rock. NU was the only team in the 14-squad tournament to finish under par.

Early on, however, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for NU.

Following a 14th-place finish at the Fighting Illini Invite earlier in the month, the Cats failed to rebound after hitting five-over and three-over in rounds one and two on Monday.

“It’s been a sluggish start to the season to say the least,” coach David Inglis said. “We just were treading water and didn’t really make any headway. We played pretty mediocre, and it was time that we really kickstarted the season and got things going.”

NU’s third round performance served as a major turnaround for the team and was punctuated by excellent play from the team’s older members.

Senior James Imai fired a tournament-best five-under 65 in the third round with senior John Driscoll III hitting a four-under 66 in the same round.

“Obviously it was impressive for (Imai) and (Driscoll III) to go out and play the way they did,”  Inglis said. “I’m guessing that’s pretty close to both of their career lows, so to go play those runs from a couple of fourth-years, that was some good leadership right there and set the tone.”

Graduate student David Nyfjäll, last year’s individual Big Ten champion, led the Cats once again with a two-under 208, tying for fourth place. Nyfjäll, Driscoll III, Imai and sophomore Cameron Adam all finished in the top 15.

At last year’s tournament, NU placed second with first-place Kansas finishing seven strokes ahead. Unlike this year, the Cats only placed two players in the top 15.

With the home tournament, Inglis appreciated being able to bring more players than usual with five competing as a team and four more competing individually.

“One of the perks of hosting is you get to play your whole squad, which is very unusual in college golf because you’re only ever playing with five, maybe six players,”  Inglis said. “So we got everybody those competitive reps. Obviously, it’s really important for the first years, the newcomers that are coming in and playing their first tournament.”

This year, NU welcomes three new first-years: Akshay Anand, Daniel Svärd and Ethan Tseng.

The Cats will have three more fall tournaments before Big Ten Match Play commences in February ahead of spring tournaments.

NU will look to carry its momentum back on the road at the Marquette Intercollegiate in Milwaukee on Sunday and Monday.

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