Illini finish ninth at Big Ten Championship

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Photo Courtesy of Illini Athletics

Senior Tristyn Nowlin hits the golf ball as the team places ninth in their Big Ten Championships. Tristyn finished 22nd in the tournament.

By Renato Arteaga, Staff Writer

The Illinois women’s golf team placed ninth out of thirteen teams at this year’s Big Ten Championship in Maineville, Ohio. The team had two golfers finish in the top 25. 

The first round of competition started Friday and concluded Sunday at the TCP River Bend course. Michigan State was crowned this year’s champion after having five golfers finish in the top 20.

Senior Tristyn Nowlin finished as the Illini’s best scorer in the tournament and tied for 22nd place with a score of +5. She was a single stroke ahead of freshman Isabel Sy, the Illini’s second best scorer, who tied for 24th with a score of +6. 

Junior Crystal Wang tied for 36th place for the Illini with a score of +9.

Nowlin expressed how disappointed the team was with their overall results since they had much higher expectations, but she continues to view these results as a lesson to improve for future tournaments.

“I wasn’t seeing a lot of putts fall,” Nowlin said. “Some of the positions we put ourselves in, we really made it more difficult than it had to be. There were some shots we hit that might’ve been a little too aggressive and not the smartest choice at the time. I think it was a good wake-up call for us to kind of pinpoint our weaknesses and the areas we need to improve upon.”

The fate of the Illini’s postseason future will be decided April 28 when the teams advancing to the NCAA Regional tournament will be announced live at 1 p.m. central time on the Golf Channel.

The Illini will be eagerly waiting for these results since their team was right on that cut line of advancing to the Regional tournament. The team has advanced to this next round of postseason action in each of the three last seasons. 

“We just have to wait and see what position we’ll be in for the next two weeks,” Nowlin said. “It’s obviously a little bit disappointing, but we’re trying to take the positives out of it.”

A lot is on the line for the Illini with this upcoming announcement. The team is currently on a very successful postseason streak throughout the past few seasons.

Last postseason, during the 2019 season, was one of the most successful postseasons in program history. 

Head coach Renee Slone was awarded the 2019 Big Ten Coach of the Year for helping the Illini reach the NCAA Championship for the first time in program history, and the team tied for ninth out of 24 teams.

During this postseason, the Illini also tied for second at the Big Ten Championship and finished fifth at the NCAA Regional tournament.

This year’s NCAA Regional tournament will take place May 10-12 at a location yet to be determined. 

“(The TCP River Bend course) will punish you if you put yourself out of position,” Nowlin said. “I think that’s going to be really important heading into Regionals, because in all of these courses, there will be similar conditions, so placement is really important. Over these next two weeks it’s going to be really important to focus on playing smart, identifying what our true strengths are individually and then putting that together as a team.”

 

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