Women’s golf sets sights on top-five finish

By Kyle Diller

Success has been in the cards for the women’s golf team this season after garnering top-five finishes in all four of its spring tournaments. This weekend, the Illini will be looking to continue their success at the Lady Buckeye Invitational.

Ohio State’s par-72 Scarlet Golf Course will host the 12-team competition, consisting of seven other Big Ten competitors, including No. 16 Michigan State, Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin. They will also compete against No. 15 Kent State, Eastern Michigan, Nebraska and Toledo.

The lineup in Columbus will consist of seniors Seul Ki Park, Kristine Cook, Stephanie Mory, Kristin Kallergis, junior Nancy Featherstone and freshman Raquel Hopton. While all six will be competing for the Illini in the tournament, only the top four scores will count toward the teams’ score.

The team’s only freshman, Raquel Hopton, spoke confidently that she and the team can continue the personal success through the tournament and the remainder of the season.

“I think I’ve improved a lot from the fall which is something I’m really proud of,” Hopton said. “Our goal for the season is to reach Regionals. I think if we do well in this tournament we have a good chance to reach Regionals.”

Last season, the Illini finished 11th place in the Lady Buckeye Invitational. But with the success they’ve experienced so far this season a higher finish is not out of the question, as they hope to continue their streak of top-five finishes.

Each golfer has also improved their stroke averages from last season.

Coach Slone said that she felt everything has really come together for the team as the spring season has progressed, and the golfers have set their sight on qualifying for Regionals.

With rain in the forecast, Slone remains confident the women have practiced enough in those conditions to be successful at the Invitational if the forecast holds true.

The event also marks one of the last matches for the seniors on the team. The seniors will be going out with a lot of accomplishments to be proud of.

“It is my last season, and I leave with no regrets, because every year I have improved,” said Park.