Women’s golf finish fall with sixth-place finish

Jasmine Ly continues top 10 streak as Huskies compete at White Sands Invitational

Junior+Ahra+Ko+launches+a+ball+during+practice+on+Aug.+28.+Ko+finished+tied+for+16th+at+the+Johnie+Imes+Invitational.

Zulfiqar Ahmed | Northern Star

Junior Ahra Ko launches a ball during practice on Aug. 28. Ko finished tied for 16th at the Johnie Imes Invitational.

Skyler Kisellus, Assistant Sports Editor

DeKALB — NIU’s women’s golf team took sixth place with a score of 41-over par at the White Sands Invitational on Paradise Island in the Bahamas and was led by a fourth-straight top 10 finish from sophomore Jasmine Ly.

The White Sands Invitational was one of the newest events added to the NIU’s fall competition schedule this season. The Huskies faced competition such as the 34th ranked University of Miami and the University of Nebraska, among other teams, at the tournament.

“The White Sands is one of the best college events we’ve been to as a team,” head coach Kim Kester said.

Fresh off an eighth place finish at the Pat Bradley Invitational, Ly ended the tournament in a two-way tie for fifth place with University of Miami senior Kristyna Frydlova. Ly’s three-under par finish contributed to NIU’s final team score of 41-over par.

The Huskies found themselves struggling with their stroke count early in the tournament. NIU’s five golfers combined for 14 bogeys, two triple bogeys and two birdies in the first nine holes. The Huskies were able to limit their bogey count and add four birdies to the scorecard in the last half of the first round. After discounting the score from the lowest performer, NIU had a score of 16-over par to put them in fifth place to finish opening day on Friday.

NIU spent Saturday’s second round dealing with more of the same issues from the previous day. The Huskies recorded 15 bogeys, six double bogeys and nine birdies from its top four performers. Having added 18 strokes to its score, the Huskies were overtaken by Florida International University to drop them to sixth place at 34-over par.

Kester attributes some of the team’s continued struggles to the course conditions and their playing environments.

“It was two completely different courses,” Kester said. “There was wind in the Bahamas and both were pretty wide open.”

In the final day of the tournament Sunday, the Huskies’ top four golfers were able to hit 11 birdies to help cancel out their 12 bogeys and three double bogeys. After the final 18 holes, the Huskies finished the event at 41-over par, having added 9 strokes to its score.

Campbell University won the White Sands Invitational with a score of ten-under par and had three golfers place within the top 10 of the individual leaderboard. Senior Kirsten Baete from the University of Nebraska was the individual champion with a 10-under par outing.

Junior Ahra Ko was the second-highest ranked golfer for the Huskies, tying for 27th place with Mercer University sophomore Eujin Pyon with a final score of nine-over par.

The Huskies also made one change to their lineup following a four-day turnaround from the Pat Bradley Invitational, replacing sophomore Karen Liu with fellow sophomore Emily Romancew.

After placing one spot above last place University of Iowa,  Kester plans for the team to work on improving their fundamentals.

“(We’ll be working on having) more control of the golf ball and working on our wedges,” Kester said. “We’ll focus really hard on that.”

The Huskies now have the winter months to rest after completing their final tournament of the fall season. Their first outing of the spring season will be at The Mid-American Match Play in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. The tournament is scheduled to begin on Feb. 7, 2022, at the Lakewood Ranch Golf & Country Club.