Illinois women's golf improves, finishes eighth at 3M Augusta Invitational

By Benjy Sabitt

Tweet: The Illini finished the first of three tournament they will play in the next three weeks

The Illinois women’s golf team wrapped up play at the 3M Augusta Invitational on Saturday afternoon, finishing eighth out of a field of 16.JT

The final round was played directly after the second round due to a threat of inclement weather Sunday.JT

Sophomore Grace Park led the team with a 7-over 223. This is the second-straight tournament that Park has led the team in overall score, though, she’s not satisfied with her play. JT

“I didn’t have my best game,” Park said. “I want to play more aggressively, I was a little tentative which didn’t allow me to get in my best.”

Head coach Renee Slone talked about Park’s effort in the early going of the spring season.

“Grace is gradually improving,” Slone said. “She’s managing her game well and minimizing her mistakes.”

The Illini posted their best team round with a 5-over 293 in the second round. Freshman Bing Singhsumalee and junior Stephanie Miller led the way for the Illini in the round, both carding an even-par 72.JT

“I just think we played more freely that round,” Singhsumalee said. “We weren’t as worried about making mistakes as the other rounds.”

Singhsumalee, who is the only freshmen on the team, feels like she can learn from her experiences on the different course, and that these experiences will help her going forward in her collegiate career.

The invitational was the first competition for the Illini since Feb. 22, when they competed in the Westbrook Spring Invitational. They will now have tournaments in each of the next two weeks.JT

Slone said that this scheduling was done with a purpose.

“It was nice to be able to compete and then take some time off,” Slone said. “This gave us an opportunity to take some time and work on our game, and now we feel ready to compete.”

The field at the 3M Augusta Invitational was filled with several skilled golf programs. Some of the teams that competed included No. 17 Florida State, No. 21 Texas A&M, No. 33 Furman and No. 42 Augusta.JT

Host team Augusta ran away with the tournament, finishing with a 3-under 861, 10 shots better than second place Coastal Carolina, who won the tournament last year.JT

Slone said playing against tough competition will make her golfers better in the future.

“It’s certainly nice being able to play with the best possible competition,” Slone said. “We had a pair with Texas A&M and I think it was good for our players to sort of watch them play and see how they go about their business.”

They have three remaining tournaments before the Big Ten Championships.JT

The players feel that they have a lot of room for improvement, and will look to build on what they’ve learned from the first two competitions of the spring.

“I can see the passion in our players,” Park said. “ I know we are going to improve as a team.”

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