Illini women drive into sixth at Notre Dame tourney

By Jon Gluskin

In its first tournament of the season last weekend, the Illini women’s golf team finished a solid 6th place in the 17-team pool. Its team score for the 54-hole Notre Dame Invitational was 945. Iowa State came in first with a score of 902, while Washington State took second (907) and host Notre Dame followed in third (914).

The top four scores in each round of 18 holes factored into the team score, and all five golfers made contributions, said senior co-captain Lyndsey Milligan.

“Everybody contributed at least one score throughout the tournament,” Milligan said. “Overall, I think it was a really good beginning for us. We started off on the right foot.”

Junior Megan Godfrey shot in the 70’s all three rounds, finishing with a 229-stroke total. Par for the course was 72. Her 13-over par placed her in 11th.

Freshman Kristine Cook tied for 24th place in her first collegiate tournament, shooting a 235. Milligan tied for 48th, with a score of 242. The other competitors for the Illini were freshmen Seul Ki Park and Stephanie Mory. Park tied for 50th with a 243 and Mory placed 74th, shooting a 252.

Milligan was impressed that her team was able to defeat 11 other teams, despite having one of the more inexperienced teams.

“We had three freshmen out of five people, and there were some teams that had only one or no freshmen,” Milligan said. “Being there with them was really encouraging.”

The Illini stuck with head coach Paula Smith’s philosophy about worrying only about those factors the team can manipulate – not those it can’t.

“I stress not to think about the outcome,” Smith said. “I just wanted the team to do the best they could and learn from the experience. We need to still continue on the process and focus on one shot at a time, be concerned with what we have control over, as far as practicing and putting.”

The Illini will compete on Saturday and Sunday in the Lady Northern Intercollegiate in Ann Arbor, Mich. The five competitors from the Notre Dame Invitational will play this weekend, along with senior Megan O’Neal, the Illini’s other co-captain.

Milligan is happy with the freshmen’s morale after the tournament and thinks this attitude will help them this weekend.

“They’re going to be aiming to beat their score – and knowing they have the ability to do that will only motivate them,” Milligan said. “They know what it takes and where they need to be.”

Milligan appears to be on the same page as her coach. Smith is satisfied with how the team did last weekend but stresses that they need to stay patient.

“I’m very encouraged,” Smith said. “Having this one tournament under our belt will make the second one a little easier. They know what to expect. I think everybody for the first tournament was able to learn something to take to the second tournament.”