NUmbers Guy: Women’s Golf advances to NCAA Championships
In what was a great weekend for Northwestern Athletics, the best team of the weekend might actually have flown under the radar. While Northwestern Lacrosse advanced to the Big Ten Tournament Finals and Softball & Baseball swept Purdue, Northwestern Women’s Golf won the NCAA Shoal Creek Regional to advance to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon. So lets take a look at the NUmbers behind their regional championship victory.
As a team, the Wildcats finished +23 over the weekend’s three rounds, but the bigger numbers for Northwestern Women’s Golf was 18 – their number of strokes they finished ahead of the second place finisher, No. 22 Florida State. The Wildcats came into the Shoal Creek Regional as the No. 2 seed in the regional and the No. 8 team in the nation and pretty much dominated, leading the entirety of the tournament and finishing 21 strokes ahead of No. 1 seeded Alabama, the No. 3 ranked team in the country.
Northwestern Women’s Golf had three individual players place in the Top 10, including freshman Janet Mao, who finished tied for first place, four shots above par for the tournament. Also finishing in the top 10 for the Wildcats were junior Kacie Komoto who finished fourth with a score of +6 after she led the tournament for much of the weekend. And sophomore Sarah Cho rounded out the Wildcats finishing in the Top 10 as she finished tied for No. 9 with a score of +9.
In what was a incredibly tough course, the average round score was 78.95, more than 6 shots over par. The Wildcats, on the other hand, surpassed the course average in only two of their 15 rounds, a testament to the performance they put up over the weekend. Even though they shot consistently over par, the course was the toughest challenge the ‘Cats faced all season, and they handled it very well.
Janet Mao’s performance over the last day was commendable, as after starting the day four strokes above par, Mao birdied the No. 11, No. 13, No. 16 and No. 17 holes to shoot par on the day and finish the tournament tied for the individual lead. Overall, Mao shot nine birdies in three days, which was the second most among Shoal Creek participants.
On an incredibly tough course, Northwestern Women’s Golf shot par 176 times, best among all teams at the regional, and 10 more than the second place finisher in Oklahoma State, who finished third overall in the regional. Northwestern did an incredibly job of keeping their scores low, especially on the tougher holes, in order to put themselves in position to win the tournament and advance to the NCAA Championships.
Northwestern was one of just two teams to average below par on a set of holes, doing so on the Par 5’s, where they averaged a 4.90 and were 6 under par for the tournament. On some of the hardest holes on the course, the Par 5’s, Northwestern able to avoid any potential dangers and even come up with some birdies, which most of the other teams at the tournament were unable to do.