Senior golfers leave on low note, finishing last in final event of year

 

 

By Kyle Diller

The four seniors on the women’s golf team ended their collegiate careers on a low note as they finished in last place in last weekend’s Big Ten Championship.

The Illini ended the first day of the tournament in last place and failed to escape the conference cellar the last two days. No. 6 Purdue won the tournament by 21 strokes, while No. 21 Michigan State and No. 36 Ohio State placed second and third, respectively.

“We dug ourselves a hole that was extremely difficult to overcome,” head coach Renee Slone said. “We just made a lot of mistakes, our short game just wasn’t quite where it needed to be in these conditions.”

Purdue’s No. 9 Maria Hernandez took top honors individually, finishing 10 strokes ahead of her teammate, No. 16 Christel Boeljon.

Senior Seul Ki Park had the top Illini performance of the Championship, tying for 16th place. Park was named second-team All-Big Ten for her strong performance in the tournament, making her the first Orange and Blue women’s golfer to earn conference honors since 1995.

“Everyone struggled the first day, and I wasn’t very pleased with the way I played,” Park said. “I told myself I’ve got nothing to lose and having that mindset, going out there, playing, being aggressive, definitely changed the way I played.”

Senior Stephanie Mory was the team’s next best performer, coming in 37th place. The rest of the team consisted of freshman Raquel Hopton (tied for 41st place), seniors Kristine Cook (tied for 54th), Kristin Kallergis (tied for 60th) and junior Nancy Featherstone (65th).

“It was a great tournament to compete in. I’m not disappointed in myself,” Mory said. “I had a great four years of college and I’m happy with the way I went out, and I can’t say that I’m disappointed.”

The last-place finish means the Illini season has come to an end, along with the careers of Mory, Cook, Kallergis and Park.

“We’ve really come a long way, this spring we got off to such a great start,” said Slone. “(We) won two tournaments, (and we) hadn’t experienced a team victory before, we definitely made significant progress.”