Illinois women's golf posts third place finish

By Benjy Sabitt

Tweet: Illini Women’s golf posts second consecutive top-five finish

After a mediocre start to the beginning of the spring season, the Illinois women’s golf team appears to have found its rhythm.

The Illini are coming off a busy two-week stretch, which started with the Dr. Donnis Thompson Invitational in Oahu, Hawaii, that concluded March 22.

In this event, the team posted its first top-five finish of the season, finishing in fifth place in a field of 16 teams.

After the Invitational, the team flew straight to Kennesaw, Georgia, for the Henssler Financial Intercollegiate, which took place March 28-29.

In this event, the Illini took third place in a 12-team field.

“I think the team did a good job of staying consistent,” sophomore Grace Park said. “We knew what we had to work on, individually, and I think we did a good job of applying what we did in practice to the tournament.”

Park was one of three Illini players to finish with a share of 15th place in the tournament, posting a 228 (12-over-par) overall.

“I think we had a good team effort,” head coach Renee Slone said. “Everybody stepped up at different times.”

Leading the Illini for the second-straight tournament was freshman Bing Singhsumalee, who had a career-best finish, tied for seventh place. Singhsumalee gradually improved her score throughout the three rounds, posting a 77-75-73 respectively. Her round of 73 moved her up 10 spots on the leaderboard on the final day, finishing with nine-over overall.

Slone lauded Singhsumalee on her performance, especially considering that the coach didn’t feel that she played as well as she could have.

“Bing is pretty impressive,” Slone said. “She didn’t have her ‘A’ game, and it didn’t phase her. She just turned to her plan B and said ‘Here’s what I have today, here’s what I’m going to have to do to score well,’ I think to post her career-best finish with her ‘C’ game really showed how mentally strong she is.”

Singhsumalee concurred that she didn’t have her best game and said that she had to make certain adjustments on the course in order to score.

“I wasn’t hitting the ball that great,” Singhsumalee said. “I had to adjust my game a lot, and I thought my club selection was better once I realized I wasn’t hitting the ball the way I would have liked.”

The Illini have endured a lot of traveling throughout the spring season, playing in tournaments all across the country.

For some players, they have had the opportunity to play in places that they have never been to before. For instance, this was the first year that the team competed in Hawaii’s event. 

Playing tournaments in so many various locations has allowed the team to play against some tough competition.

“It’s always great to play against different teams,” Park said. “We always learn something new every tournament.”

After the busy stretch, the Illini will now have a couple weeks to rest before their next competition.

“We just have to keep the ball rolling,” Singhsumalee said. “This break will give us a chance to work on some of the weaker parts of our game.”

The Illini’s next competition will be the Lady Buckeye Invitational, Ohio State’s hosted event, which starts April 17.

“It’s still a work in progress,” Slone said. “We get a little better each time out.”

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