Women hope to finish strong

By Jessica Warchall

The Illinois women’s golf team is confident that it will finish well after landing the fifth-best three-round total in school history at The Legends when it competes in the Edwin Watts/Palmetto Intercollegiate in Kiawah Island, S.C., on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.

The tournament will be the last of the season. The team has had two weeks to prepare since its last tournament on Oct. 11.

Sophomore Seul Ki Park, who led the team to victory with her record-setting two-round total of 142 through the second round, said the team has higher expectations for itself after the last tournament.

Part of the two-week break consisted of qualification rounds for their final tournament of the season.

Park and senior Megan Godfrey were exempt from qualification rounds for having played well at The Legends. Junior Meghan Naik and sophomores Casey Burden and Stephanie Mory also qualified for the tournament.

Head Coach Paula Smith said that the team has also been focusing on the process of the game and its short game.

“My philosophy is that I want the team and the individual players to focus on the process of the game,” Smith said.

Smith explained the process of the game as focusing on what is in the players’ abilities. She believes preparation and practice are the keys to success.

“We have control over what we do now and what we can do later,” Park said.

Smith said she reinforces the idea of “one shot at a time.” Focusing on this idea allows the players to concentrate on the process of reaching the goal, which is the final score, rather than focusing only on the score itself.

Smith said for the past two weeks, the team has been practicing its short game, which she believes is the team’s weakest aspect.

While the team as a whole is working on its short game, the individual players are focusing on improving other aspects of their own games.

Park said that she is practicing her shots (irons and drives) because that is what she feels she needs the most work on.

Godfrey is focused more on practicing her putting so it will be consistent throughout the tournament.

“I want to be on top of my short-game, so I can rely on it in South Carolina,” Godfrey said.

Park said the team has been scoring a lot better in its practice rounds and in the qualifying rounds. She also said the players are becoming a lot more consistent as the season progresses.

“I have a really good feeling that we’re going to finish strong,” Park said.

Smith and the team have high expectations for its final tournament of the fall season. She is confident the team will concentrate on the process of the game while competing in South Carolina next Monday and Tuesday.

The players also remain confident after their record setting tournament at The Legends and will carry that confidence with them to South Carolina.

“We are coming off of a good tournament,” Godfrey said, “and together we can do well as a team.”