Women’s Golf: Northwestern bounces back with top-five finish at Illini Women’s Invitational

Lucas Kim, Senior Staffer

Women’s Golf

Placing in the bottom half in each of its first two fall tournaments, Northwestern has certainly not had the start it envisioned. But that changed Tuesday when the Wildcats tied for fifth out of 15 at the Illini Women’s Invitational.

The Cats hit 23-under-par, riding a nine-under final round to propel the team into top-five territory.

But the effort wasn’t enough to catch medalist Kentucky’s 34-under performance — 11 strokes ahead of NU and five strokes ahead of runner-up Auburn.

Overall, it was an up-and-down tournament for the Cats.

Monday’s first round yielded the best results for NU, culminating in a 12-under 276 and a tie at third. However, a lackluster second round — 10 strokes worse than the first round — dropped the Cats down to seventh place entering Tuesday.

The final round saw four out of five NU golfers hitting at or under par, bringing the Cats to a tie with Texas Tech.

Kelly Sim, who tied for 13th overall with a seven-under 209, led NU. Sim was the primary driver in the team’s dominant first round, tying for first individually at six-under after hitting six birdies including four birdies on the front nine.

In addition to Sim, four Cats finished in the top 30 with sophomore Lauryn Nguyen tying for 23rd, and junior Jennifer Cai and freshman Dianna Lee both tying for 26th. 

Sim and Cai were the only NU players to finish at or under par for each of the three rounds.

The Cats look to maintain this form in California next week as they compete at the Stanford Intercollegiate, their last fall tournament.

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