With Northwestern Women’s Golf’s ninth place finish at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon this week, the ‘Cats had their best finish in program history, finishing one spot and three strokes better than last year’s tenth place finish at the NCAA Championships. And while Northwestern wasn’t able to advance to match play at the Championships, it was still a season for the ages for the ‘Cats. So lets take a look at the NUmbers behind Women’s Golf’s historic season.
The ‘Cats season ended in heartbreak on Monday, as Northwestern finished one stroke behind eight place Oregon, just missing out on moving on to match play in Eugene. But missing the cut shouldn’t take away from what was another spectacular season for Women’s Golf. The Wildcats finished tied for ninth place, one spot and three strokes better than last year’s finish at the NCAA Championships, and their best finish in program history.
The ‘Cats playing in 10 different tournaments in the regular season this year, and they absolutely dominated. Not only did the ‘Cats win four of their tournaments, they finished second or better in six of them, and in the Top five of all but two tournaments. Northwestern, headlined by Hannah Kim, Big Ten Player of the year, and Stephanie Lau, Big Ten Freshman of the Year, put together an incredible season, good enough to earn the No. 8 overall ranking heading into postseason play.
The Wildcats began postseason play with the Big Ten Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana, looking to capture their second straight Big Ten Title. And with a Big Ten record, 12-under par performance over the weekend, the ‘Cats captured their second straight Big Ten Title, and their third in four years. Both Lau and Kim finished in the Top 10 for the ‘Cats, with Lau at 5-under and Kim at 3-under.
From there the ‘Cats moved on to the Shoal Creek Regional, where as a team, the Wildcats finished +23 over the weekend’s three rounds. But the bigger number from the weekend was 18, their stroke lead over 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 absolutely dominated, leading the entirety of what was the toughest regional in the country, finishing 21 strokes ahead of No. 1 seeded Alabama, the number 3 overall team in the country.
In her NCAA Tournament debut, Stephanie Lau finished tied for 11th at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon, shooting 1-under par. Lau had an incredible freshman year for the Wildcats, which resulted in her being named Big Ten Freshman of the Year, the second straight year a Northwestern player has won that award. She’s also currently ranked as the No. 15 overall NCAA DI Women’s Golfer, according to Golfstat, averaging a 72.18 score over her 28 rounds this season. And somehow she’s only a freshman, with three more years to go.
Not only did Lau have an incredible season, but Hannah Kim also was incredible, winning the Big Ten Player of the Year award for the second straight year, the first back-to-back Big Ten Player of the Year in Northwestern history. Kim shot an average score of 71.79 on the season, good for a Golfstat ranking of tied for fifth best scoring average in the country. In her 28 rounds this year, Kim averaged 0.11 shots under par, with an impressive 99 birdies and one eagle. And did I mention she’s only a sophomore? With Kim and Lau, along with a number of underclassmen, the future is bright for Northwestern Women’s Golf.