It’s difficult to figure out what was more impressive, the team performance by Northwestern in cruising to its third straight Hurricane Invitational crown Wednesday or the showing by Wildcats sophomore Hannah Kim in blazing to the individual crown.
Northwestern, ranked No. 7 by Golfweek, fired the second-best round in program history, an 8-under 276, to finish with a 24-under 828 and a whopping 21-stroke victory over 16th-ranked Iowa St. The program record was established a day earlier when the Wildcats fired a 275, that after merely matching the old program record in the first round with a 277. The 828 total bettered the program record for a 54-hole event of 849 established last fall at the Mason Rudolph Championship by 21 shots.
Kim, a sophomore from Chula Vista, Calif., capped her assault on the Biltmore Golf Course in Coral Gables, Fla., a 6,080-yard, par-71 Donald Ross design, with a brilliant 7-under 64. That gave the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year a 14-under 199 total and a five-shot margin of victory over Tulane’s Emily Penttila, a senior from Finland who had a pretty impressive final-round 66 of her own to finish at 9-under 204. That was a program record 54-hole total for Penttila.
The first sub-200 finish for 54 holes ever by a Northwestern golfer, Kim’s 199 total shattered the program record, established last fall by Stephanie Lau, a freshman from Fullerton, Calif., by seven shots. They were probably still busy rewriting the Northwestern record book when the Wildcats got back to chilly Chicago.
Northwestern was also boosted by Kacie Komoto, a junior from Honolulu, Hawaii who matched par Wednesday with a 71 to finish in a tie for fourth at 4-under 209, Sarah Cho, a sophomore from San Diego, who had a 1-under 70 to finish in a tie for eighth at 1-under 212, and Lau, who also matched par with a 71 to finish in a tie for 14th at 1-over 214.
Iowa State, led by its trio from Thailand, had a pretty impressive showing in the mere mortal division. The Cyclones posted a final-round 282 for a 3-under 849 total to finish second. Pretty tough to finish under par and lose by 21 shots.
Iowa State freshman Chayanit Wangmahaporn had a final-round 70 to finish alone in seventh at 2-under 211 and freshman Parinda Phokan (73) and sophomore Nattaporn Siritrai (71) were among three players who finished at 1-under 212.
Host Miami, ranked 40th, surged to a final round of 7-under 277 to grab third place at 2-over 854. The Hurricanes were led by Daniela Darguea, a junior from Ecuador who carded a final-round 68 to finish alone in sixth at 3-under 210.
Penttila’s 66 led Tulane, ranked 50th, to a final-round 284, enabling the Green Wave to finish fourth at 7-over 859.
East Carolina, ranked 34th, had a nice final round of 279 that moved the Pirates up to fifth in the team standings at 11-over 863. They were led by Frida Gustafsson Spang, a senior from Sweden who had one of the day’s best rounds, a 4-under 67, to finish in a tie for fourth with Northwestern’s Komoto at 4-under 209.
A couple of perennial Big Ten powers, 49th-ranked Michigan and 35th-ranked Purdue, earned top-10 finishes, but have some work to do to get in the same area code as Northwestern this spring. Michigan had a final-round 289 to finish seventh at 15-over 867. Purdue’s 289 total Wednesday was the Boilermakers’ best team score of the tournament and enabled them to finish 10th at 24-over 876.
Linn Andersson, a sophomore from Sweden, capped a solid individual showing for Purdue with a 2-under 69 Wednesday that left her in a tie for 11th at even-par 213. Marta Martin, a sophomore from Spain, had a 72 to finish in a tie for 32nd at 6-over 219 and August Kim, a junior from St. Augustine, Fla., also had a 72 to finish in a tie for 36th at 7-over 220.
The Boilermakers got a nice showing from Ida Ayu Indira Melati Putri, a freshman from Bali who was competing as an individual. She matched par in the final round with a 71 to finish a shot behind August Kim in a tie for 41st at 8-over 221.