Women’s Golf: Northwestern breaks program records at UCF Challenge, Nguyen named Big Ten Golfer of the Week


Daily file photo by Angeli Mittal

Sophomore Lauryn Nguyen putts the ball. Nguyen was named Big Ten Golfer of the Week on Wednesday.

Lucas Kim, Social Media Editor

In its first tournament in over three months, No. 27 Northwestern put up not only its best result of this season, but its best 54-hole result in program history.

The Wildcats traveled to Orlando, Fla. for the UCF Challenge on Sunday, looking to bounce back after a series of average performances in their fall tournaments. They did so in stellar fashion, hitting 37-under and finishing third in an 18-team field containing some of the nation’s top collegiate squads.

Sophomore Lauryn Nguyen, who tied for sixth individually at 11-under on her way to being named Big Ten Women’s Golfer of the Week, led NU. Nguyen is the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year and was a Second Team All-Big Ten selection last season.

In the first round, graduate student Kelly Sim fired off a six-under while Nguyen hit five-under to carry the Cats to a 16-under 272, an 18-hole program record. NU entered the second round in second place, behind No. 2 Wake Forest.

As if their unprecedented first round performance wasn’t enough, the Cats posted an even better result in the second round the next day.

Led by Nguyen’s program record-tying eight-under 64, NU finished the second round with an 18-under 270 –– supplanting the 18-hold program record set a day earlier. Freshman Dianna Lee added with a five-under with Sim continuing her excellent play with a four-under.

The Cats’ tournament-best result put them in first place going into the final round on Tuesday. Riding high from its record-breaking first 36 holes, NU held a three-stroke advantage over second place Wake Forest.

Unfortunately for the Cats, the third round marked the end of their remarkable run. Both Nguyen and Sim took a step back, both carding scores over par for the first time in the tournament.

NU ended with a tally of three-under 285 in the final round, good enough to put the team in third place overall, just one stroke behind runner-up No. 11 Mississippi State.

Following up behind Nguyen was Lee, who placed eighth, and junior Jieni Li, who tied for 11th. Sim finished tied for 20th.

Despite the disappointing final day, the Cats should have plenty to celebrate. 

Carding a 37-under 827, NU set a 54-hole program record, beating out the previous record by one stroke. With the notable performance, NU jumped from No. 37 to No. 27 in the national ranking. 

The Cats will head back to Florida to compete at the Moon Golf Invitational from Feb. 19 to Feb. 21.

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Twitter: @lucaskim_15

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