Women’s Golf: No. 19 Northwestern places 12th at Darius Rucker Intercollegiate against top competition


Daily file photo by Alison Albelda

Irene Kim watches her swing at the 2022 Darius Rucker Intercollegiate. Kim, who competed individually, tied for 30th at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate.

Lucas Kim, Social Media Editor

After two consecutive top-three results to start off 2023, No. 19 Northwestern fell back down to Earth at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate held in South Carolina from Monday to Wednesday.

Participating in their most competitive tournament thus far in the season, the Wildcats placed 12th after carding a 30-over 882.

The tournament’s 17-team field consisted of 16 teams ranked in the top 50 and nine teams ranked in the top 15 nationally. NU finished just one stroke behind No. 30 Duke and No. 32 Georgia, and one stroke ahead of 13th place No. 46 Alabama.

The first round saw the Cats post their worst result of the tournament at 16-over — good enough for a 12th-place tie with Duke.

Freshman Dianna Lee started out hot, hitting a one-over 72, which was four strokes better than any other golfer on the team.

NU turned it around on day two, improving its stroke total by 10.

Sophomore Lauryn Nguyen –– who had just come off two straight top-six finishes –– led the Cats with a one-under 70 in the second round, the team’s only under-par individual round over the three days. Nguyen was the Cats’ top performer at last year’s Darius Rucker Intercollegiate, tying for 16th with a five-over 218.

Lee and junior Jieni Li both hit a two-over 73, propelling NU into a three-way tie for ninth entering the final day.

Unfortunately for the Cats, the third round wasn’t as smooth sailing. Though Li and graduate student Kelly Sim struck even par for the round, NU still finished in 12th place, carding an eight-over 292. 

Individually, Nguyen was once again the Cats’ top golfer, finishing tied for 23rd with a six-over 219. Li and senior Irene Kim, who participated as an individual, finished a stroke behind and tied for 30th.

While Lee entered the third round tied for 18th at just three-over, she fell to 45th after hitting a six-over 77 on the final day.

Junior Jennifer Cai struggled to find her stroke, finishing in 90th with a 30-over 243. Cai has started off the season slow after earning First Team All-Big Ten honors last year.

No. 6 LSU came away with the tournament victory at six-over. The Tigers also won the Moon Golf Invitational a week prior, where the Cats finished as the runner-up.

NU will have a three-week break before traveling to Arizona for the PING/ASU Invitational on March 24.

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