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

Email Newsletter

Sign up to receive our email newsletter in your inbox.


Lacrosse: Northwestern’s Izzy Scane wins 2024 Honda Sport Award
District 65 School Board votes to close Dr. Bessie Rhodes School
Kathryn Hahn declares class of 2024 “worthy of celebration” in commencement address
Pro-Palestinian graduates walk out of 2024 Commencement Ceremony in solidarity with Gaza
‘Wildcats should have wild dreams:’ Nikki Okrah delivers optimistic 2024 Weinberg Convocation address
The Daily Explains: Contextualizing the Evanston reparations lawsuit
NU announces plans to prevent disruptions at commencement
Perry: A little humility goes a long way

Brew, Hou, Leung, Pandey: On being scared to tweet and the pressure to market yourself as a student journalist

June 4, 2024

Haner: A love letter to the multimedia room

June 4, 2024

Lacrosse: Northwestern’s Izzy Scane wins 2024 Honda Sport Award

Lacrosse: Northwestern’s Izzy Scane wins 2024 Tewaaraton Award

May 30, 2024

Lacrosse: No. 1 Northwestern falls 14-13 to No. 2 Boston College in national championship battle

May 26, 2024

Campus Kitchens fills plates and hearts

Why Club Sports at Northwestern?

NU Declassified: Prof. Barbara Butts teaches leadership through stage management

Everything Evanston: Behind the boba in downtown Evanston

Women’s Golf: Northwestern struggles in final round, ties for 11th at NCAA Championships

Photo courtesy of Albert Chang
Junior Lauryn Nguyen follows through on her swing. Nguyen, a two-time All-Big Ten First Team honoree, finished tied for 39th Monday.

During the first three rounds of Friday to Monday’s NCAA Championship, Northwestern came one step closer to achieving what no other squad in the program’s history had done before: securing a national title.

After advancing past the first cut, which narrowed the field from 30 teams to 15, the Wildcats entered Monday’s fourth round in fifth place. With just another round of solid golf, they would be well-positioned to qualify for the match play quarterfinals — consisting of the top-eight teams — for just the third time in program history.

But after 18 holes of inconsistent play, coach Emily Fletcher’s squad fell to an 11th-place tie, ending its year in disappointing fashion after a dominant regular season.

“You don’t want to lose sight of the incredible season that our team had, but I think you temper that with a little bit of disappointment.” Fletcher said. “It just really felt like a little bit of nerves kept us from committing to the shots we needed to hit. It isn’t that we weren’t ready for them, I just think we just weren’t able to execute.”

After enjoying an impressive regular season that included two tournament wins, NU logged a fourth-place result at the NCAA East Lansing Regional and headed to Carlsbad, California more than a week later seeking its first-ever national title.

Entering as the No. 11-ranked squad in the nation, the ’Cats got off to a hot start, jumping into third place after the first day of action.

A trio of NU golfers — freshman Ashley Yun and seniors Jennifer Cai and Jieni Li — each tallied a 1-under 71 with sophomore Jiayi Wang hitting an even-par 72. 

Saturday signaled the first sign of trouble for the ’Cats, who logged a 5-over 293 to drop to eighth place. 

“Our goal was to just be the best we could be every day,” Fletcher said. “We proved ourselves to be a top-10 team in the country all year round…(but) I still felt like each of those days we left a few shots out there.”

Yun continued her excellent play, hitting a team-best 2-under 70 to help sustain NU’s top-10 position during a rocky 18 holes. Li also contributed with an even-par 72.  

Needing to stay ahead of the first cutoff that would cut the field in half, the ’Cats maintained an 11-stroke cushion over 16th place Florida State heading into Sunday.

Despite worsening conditions, NU kept its composure, moving up into fifth place behind Yun’s 1-under 71 to punch a fourth-round ticket. Over the first 54 holes, Yun exhibited her dominance over the national scene, standing tied for fourth place in the individual rankings and performing in the face of high wind speeds.

“Even if you played in the morning, it was still a bit windy towards the back nine. I know that even if I was struggling I wasn’t the only one that was struggling, and it’s tough for everyone out (there),” Yun said following Sunday’s round three. 

With the field cut in half, the ’Cats looked poised to qualify for match play, but it all came crumbling down.

With the exception of junior Lauryn Nguyen’s even-par 72, no player on NU’s lineup finished better than 5-over. The ’Cats combined for eight double bogeys and three triple bogeys in a tournament-worst 21-over round four showing.

NU dropped six places and finished 10 strokes behind eighth-placed Auburn, earning a share of  11th place alongside Texas and Florida State.

Despite the rough final round, Fletcher’s squad enjoyed its fifth-best NCAA Championship result in program history and its best since finishing in fourth place in 2018.

Yun, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, led the team with a 19th-place individual finish after struggling in the fourth round. It was an impressive NCAA Championship debut for Yun, who collected three top-20 performances this year. 

“We knew this about Ashley, and certainly we saw it come through,” Fletcher said. “She certainly did her part and stood up and led us to the very best of her ability. I think it just shows how much she embraces big moments, and she’ll continue to build off of that over the next three years.”

Nguyen followed in 39th place after notching 74-73-72 scores over her last 54 holes.

Monday also marked a bittersweet end for seniors Cai and Li, who built two storied careers with the program. 

Cai finished her NU journey having bounced back from a lackluster junior campaign to capture her second career All-Big Ten First Team honor. Li was also recognized for all-conference awards during her time with the team, being named to the All-Big Ten First Team and Second Team in her junior and senior seasons, respectively.

Fletcher — who captured her second consecutive and sixth career Big Ten Coach of the Year award — recognized the seniors’ contributions and commitment to the program, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic during which they entered as first-years.

“When Jieni and Jen were freshmen, it was right during COVID,” Fletcher said. “They’ve really done everything that we’ve asked them to. They were both very coachable players; they were willing to really listen and develop and improve and that’s really all you can ask for as a coach. Both of them were incredible that way.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @lucaskim_15

Related Stories:

Women’s Golf: Northwestern places fourth at NCAA East Lansing Regional, earns championship berth

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

Women’s Golf: Northwestern closes out regular season with second consecutive victory

More to Discover