Seniors await final test

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By Kyle Diller

The four seniors of the women’s golf team will participate in the final regular-season tournament of their college careers starting this Friday at the Big Ten Championship.

The spring season has been a success for the Illini, as they have placed in the top five in four of their five tournaments.

Of those top-five finishes, two were first-place finishes including their home tournament, the Illini Classic.

While they’ve had a good deal of success this season, the golfers will be looking for a strong showing as they fight for a bid to NCAA Regionals.

The Orange and Blue have already defeated Big Ten opponents in tournaments earlier this spring, which is a good sign for the team.

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    “Our big goal is probably to finish top three,” said senior Kristine Cook. “I think if we finish top three, that would be really solid, so I think that’s a good goal for us.”

    Members of the team said the grass on the roughs was fairly thick at the Penn State Blue Course and could prove a problem for the golfers.

    “We want to minimize our mistakes out there; we want to hit greens and fairways,” said senior Seul Ki Park. “The roughs out here are pretty thick, so as long we hit fairways and greens, we’re in good shape.”

    After struggling last weekend in the Lady Buckeye Tournament, the coach put a strong emphasis on improving specific aspects of players’ games.

    “I think on Monday we had a very good session, which built a lot of players’ confidence,” said head coach Renee Slone. “We need to get the ball to the hole, and they did that during practice, and they made a lot more putts.”

    Park, Cook and fellow seniors Kristin Kallergis and Stephanie Mory will be competing in their final regular-season tournament.

    “It is our last Big Ten Conference tournament, it’s kind of sad, but at the same time, I’m really excited for this tournament,” Park said. “We’ve done a lot of preparation this season, and this is part of our goal.”

    Slone said she felt the whole team understands what this last tournament means to the seniors.

    “They’ve been a very close group since they’ve arrived as freshmen,” Slone said. “They realize that this is their last regular-season event and could very possibly be the last event of their careers, so they’re all highly motivated to end on a high note.”