Jasmine Ly wins first individual MAC championship in NIU women’s golf history

The NIU women’s golf team claimed second place at Mid-American Conference Championships

Sophomore+Jasmine+Ly+hits+an+approach+shot+into+a+green+during+a+qualifying+round+at+Rich+Harvest+Farms+Aug.+28

Zak Ahmed | Northern Star

Sophomore Jasmine Ly hits an approach shot into a green during a qualifying round at Rich Harvest Farms Aug. 28

By Skyler Kisellus, Sports Editor

DeKALB — Sophomore Jasmine Ly became the first Huskie to win the Mid-American Conference Championship in women’s golf history Sunday.

NIU finished their 2022-23 campaign as the conference runners-up of the three-day-long championship tournament. The Huskies shot 18 strokes behind conference champion Kent State University, who successfully defended their title for the 22nd year in a row.

Ly won the individual title by four strokes after shooting 69-73-73 through three rounds. The sophomore succeeded in keeping Kent State senior Emily Price at bay as Price kept within one stroke of Ly through the first two days of competition.

“It was great to see (Jasmine) come through with the win today,” head coach Kim Kester said in an NIU Athletics news release. “Her composure was top notch and it was exciting to see her come through all three days and bring home the title.”

The Huskies also sported two members of the 2022 All-Tournament Team. Ly and senior Sofia Gomez Enriquez joined members from the lineups of Kent State, Bowling Green State University and the University of Akron to compile the best competitors from the tournament.

“The three days here were fantastic,” Kester said. “They gave it everything they had, stuck to their game plans and we were in it all the way, we weren’t blown out. We’re closing the gap, each year it’s getting better and better, and the future is bright.”

Friday: Round 1, 2nd place

A series of 11 bogeys, a trio of double bogeys and a pair of triple bogeys helped four members of NIU’s starting lineup shoot over-par through the first nine holes. Ly hit one-under par after earning a birdie on the sixth hole.

NIU cleaned up on errors in the second half of the first round. No golfer hit a triple bogey and one double bogey occurred in the last nine holes of Friday’s opening round.

Ly’s first-round par score of three-under placed her atop the individual leaderboard early. Gomez Enriquez tied with three other golfers for sixth place at four-over-par.

The Huskies compiled a team score of 17-over-par, putting NIU in second place. The Huskies ended Friday nine strokes behind Kent State and 10 strokes ahead of the University of Toledo.

Saturday: Round 2, 2nd place

NIU showed further improvement through the first half of Saturday’s second round. All members of the lineup shot a three-over-par or lower through the first nine holes.

Ly and freshman Jóhanna Lea Lúðvíksdóttir each recorded a trio of birdies against a pair of bogeys to close out the second round. This enabled them to trim a stroke off their scores from the round’s halfway mark.

A second-round score of one-over-par allowed Ly to maintain her position at the top of the individual leaderboard at two-under. Gomez Enriquez fell to tied-10th after adding five strokes in the second round.

Junior Ahra Ko joined Ly and Gomez Enriquez in the top 10. Ko ended Saturday in a tie with Kent State freshman Jennifer Gu for eighth place after hitting eight-over-par through two rounds.

The Huskies remained firmly in second place Saturday after creating a 13-stroke margin between both the tournament leader Kent State and third place University of Akron.

Sunday: Round 3, 2nd place

Sunday’s final round saw Ly, Gomez Enriquez and Lúðvíksdóttir notch scores of two-over-par or lower. Ko finished the round at 11-over-par. A combination of six bogeys and two triple bogeys caused senior Caroline Klemp to hit 15-over-par.

Ly’s final round score successfully held off other first-place contenders after finishing the events as the only golfer to hit under-par.

Gomez Enriquez jumped five spots on the leaderboard after finishing play at 11-over par. The Paraguay native tied with Gu and Akron sophomore Jennifer David for fifth place.

“Sofia’s finish just goes to the work ethic she has,” Kester said. “She has worked hard all the way to the end (of her career) as a senior.  It showed in the last few events and I’m super happy for her to close out her career that way.”

Lúðvíksdóttir’s third round performance increased her positioning by eight spots. The Reykjavik, Iceland, product tied with Central Michigan University sophomore Ashley Goh for ninth place at 14-over-par.

“The first MAC champ is always the toughest for the freshmen because you don’t know what to expect but after that first round, Jo played well these last few days,” Kester said. “This is just the start for her, so it was great to see her end on this type of tournament.”

Kent State University maintained its lead throuhhout the competition and came away as MAC champions for the 23rd consecutive year. The Golden Flashes steadily increased their lead over the Huskies at each day of the tournament to finish with a team score of 25-over-par. Four of the five members of Kent State’s starting lineup finished in the top 10.

Regionals and beyond

Ly’s victory at the MAC Championships earned her an individual spot at the NCAA Regionals. Ly will be the first Huskie to compete in the NCAA.

“I just wanted to play my own game and focus on what I wanted to do,” Ly said. “(Winning) feels great; it hasn’t fully sunk in yet, but I’m super excited for regionals.”

Ly’s position in the regionals will be announced at the NCAA Golf Selection Show Wednesday at 3 p.m. CT on The Golf Channel. Ly will play in one of the six NCAA Women’s Golf Regionals set to last from May 9 to May 11.

The rest of NIU’s squad will have the remainder of spring and the summer to make any improvements and prepare for the fall 2022 competition schedule.