April 4, 2014
ATHENS, Ga. -- A record-setting day for Northwestern on Friday at the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic helped the Wildcats cruise to a first-place finish in the stroke play portion of the tournament and junior Hana Lee captured co-medalist honors by matching another program record. NU shattered the previous school record of 284 for 18 holes, carding an 11-under 277 on Friday and was the only team to finish under par for the round. Lee scored a 6-under 66 to match her own school record for 18 holes to lead the individual standings for the first time in her career.
"I am thrilled for Hana to capture her first medalist title," Northwestern head coach Emily Fletcher said. "She has been close all winter and this was that breakthrough round she has needed. I am not surprised to see this group set a new school record. They are a talented bunch that can make birdies in bunches like they did today."
Additionally, Northwestern set a new single-round record in the 42nd year of the historic Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic, bettering the 10-under mark of Alabama in 2012 and Duke in 2000. The Wildcats were one stroke off the course record, which was set last year by USC during the 2013 NCAA Championships. Lee and fellow medalist, Gabby Lopez of Arkansas, equaled the LMCC individual single-round record, tying the 6-under score of Jennifer Kirby of Alabama in 2012 and Brittany Lang of Duke in 2004.
Northwestern, who is ranked No. 23 in the latest Golfstat rankings, finished ahead of a number of top-10 programs including fourth-ranked Arkansas who finished second (+3), No. 10 Alabama, winners of the 2012 NCAA Championships, who placed third (+5) and top-ranked USC (4th, +6), who won the 2013 NCAA Championships.
This record-setting day was thanks to strong play from the entire team as four Wildcats placed in the top 10 and the team combined for 22 birdies to lead the field. Lee's 66 was the second time she matched the school record as she also recorded the same score at the 2013 Clover Cup. Former Wildcat Lauren Weaver set the program record back in 2010 at the Lady Northern Invitational.
Lee had seven birdies, including four straight on the 12th-15th holes. She bogeyed the 17th hole, but the rest were pars, helping her achieve medalist honors for the first time in her career. Lee now has nine top-10 finishes as her best finish before Friday was a fourth-place showing during her sophomore season.
Sophomores Kaitlin Park and Elizabeth Szokol also had rounds under par, placing fourth and fifth, respectively. Park scored a 3-under 69 while Szokol was 2-under at 70. Park finished the front nine at 1-under and picked up four birdies on the back nine to go 2-under. Szokol added four birdies for her low round of the season and second top-10 finish of her career. Her fifth-place finish is a new personal best, beating out her ninth-place showing at the 2013 Big Ten Championships.
Freshman Kacie Komoto also finished inside the top 10, tying for ninth with an even 72. She had three birdies on the day and had a strong finish to the round with seven-straight pars to record the second top-10 finish of her young Wildcat career.
Sophomore Suchaya Tangkamolprasert rounded out the NU competitors and tied for 40th with a 5-over 77.
The Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic continues throughout the weekend but the remainder of the tournament switches to match play. NU holds the No. 1 seed and takes on No. 8 seed NC State Saturday morning in the first of three rounds of match play. An additional round will take place Saturday with the match play champion crowned following Sunday's final round. This year's tournament has been altered to include match play in advance of the NCAA Championships switching to a similar format in 2015.
This is the second first-place finish for the Wildcats this season as they also won the team title at the Hurricane Invitational, played March 3-5 in Coral Gables, Fla.
Northwestern - 1st/16 teams - 277 (-11)
T-1 - Hana Lee - 66 (-6)
4 - Kaitlin Park - 69 (-3)
5 - Elizabeth Szokol - 70 (-2)
T-9 - Kacie Komoto - 72 (E)
T-40 - Suchaya Tangkamolprasert - 77 (+5)
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