Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Women’s Golf: Northwestern places third at Big Ten Tournament, named No. 2 seed at NCAA East Lansing Regional

Senior+Jieni+Li+swings+her+club.+Li+tied+for+23rd+at+this+year%E2%80%99s+Big+Ten+Championships+with+a+3-over+219.
Photo courtesy of Albert Chang
Senior Jieni Li swings her club. Li tied for 23rd at this year’s Big Ten Championships with a 3-over 219.

Heading into last weekend’s Big Ten Championship, Northwestern looked to earn its first conference title since 2016. And as the only Big Ten team ranked within the top 30 nationally, the Wildcats had an opportune chance to do just that.

But after a poor second round — during which NU fell three places — coach Emily Fletcher’s squad finished in third place at 1-under, seven strokes behind conference champion Indiana.

“We just uncharacteristically made some bad swings, and we were sloppy. We beat ourselves,” Fletcher said. “We struggled adjusting to the green speeds compared to what we’ve been playing on, and we just didn’t adapt very well.”

The ’Cats began play Friday, putting themselves in second place after 18 holes of 1-under golf. 

Junior Lauryn Nguyen paced the squad in round one with a team-best 5-under 67 and seven birdies as the only NU player to shoot under par.

The subsequent round witnessed the ’Cats drop from second to fifth place, tallying a 7-over 295. According to Fletcher, a mid-round weather change forced teams to adapt as unexpected high wind speeds began picking up during play. 

“We had some good opportunities, those first six or seven holes, and we didn’t take advantage of them,” Fletcher said. “Then the wind switched, and it got hard, and we just were a little impatient.”

NU accumulated a collective 22 bogeys and six double bogeys on Saturday as no ’Cats hit under par. Freshman Ashley Yun led the team with an even-par 72, finishing the round with three consecutive birdies despite the elements.

Standing 20 shots off first place and seven shots from third place, NU needed a bounce-back performance in the final round to avoid finishing outside the top-four teams for the first time since September.

The ’Cats returned on Sunday with a vengeance, tallying a round-best 7-under 281.

Behind Yun’s 4-under 68 and Nguyen’s 2-under 70, NU proved its dominance en route to a top-three result. Senior Jieni Li and sophomore Jiayi Wang contributed with a 1-under 71 and even-par 72, respectively.

“I was really proud of our effort in the final round on Sunday,” Fletcher said. “(They) could have gotten a little bit discouraged and felt sorry for (themselves), but they didn’t do that. They really battled back and fought for every shot.”

On the individual leaderboard, Nguyen tied for fourth place at 5-under — marking the junior’s third straight top-10 result at the Big Ten Championships. In their first career postseason appearances, Yun and Wang followed with a 10th and 20th place finish, respectively.

With the conclusion of conference tournaments, the ’Cats now look toward the national scene after being selected to compete at the NCAA East Lansing Regional as the No. 2 seed.

This marks Fletcher’s 14th consecutive NCAA Regional appearance with NU advancing to the championship eight times during her tenure.

The ’Cats will need to place within the top-five of their regional tournament to advance to the championship where 30 teams will duke it out for the national title. Each of the six NCAA Regional sites will begin hosting their respective tournaments on May 6.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @lucaskim_15

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