Illini women’s golf looks to improve in Oklahoma after opening season with fifth-place finish

Freshman+Lexanne+Halama+swings+at+a+golf+ball+at+the+Wolverine+Invitational.+The+team+hopes+to+improve+upon+their+game+at+the+Schooner+Fall+Classic.+

Photo Courtesy of Illini Athletics

Freshman Lexanne Halama swings at a golf ball at the Wolverine Invitational. The team hopes to improve upon their game at the Schooner Fall Classic.

By Andre Thomas, Staff Writer

The Illinois women’s golf team is on its second invitational this year as the Illini will travel to Norman, Oklahoma for the two-day Schooner Fall Classic. Illinois is starting to get back in rhythm of a normal schedule after the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the team’s fall season in 2020. 

In the spring of last season, the Illini only saw one top-five finish out of all of the invitationals, making it extremely hard to argue the case for Illinois being a top contender for the NCAA tournament at the end of the year. In the 2019-2020 season, Illinois had three top-five finishes and two third-place finishes, signifying that the fall season is very important for the development of the team.

The fall portion of the golf season is always the first step in helping the team get back into the routine of things, such as practice, team meetings, exercising and balancing student life and athletic lifestyle. Going into the season, the NCAA had a list of women golfers to watch this season, which included Illini seniors Crystal Wang and Kornkamol Sukaree and junior Siyan Chen.

With Illinois starting this season off better than last, expectations will be met or exceeded this year. The Schooner Fall Classic will be held at the Belmar Golf Club on Sunday and Monday. This week’s invitation will be very interesting since Oklahoma was tied for fifth place at the Sam Golden Invitational, which means both programs are looking for this season’s first first-place finish. 

Ironically, the last time Illinois stepped foot at the Schooner Classic in 2019, the team also recorded a fifth-place finish. It seems like fifth is their favorite place to be, but Wang, Chen and Sukaree will get another shot at winning first place in this year’s classic. In 2019, Tristyn Nowlin was the only Illini member to earn first place that year, which means this year is time for someone new to take that spot. 

 

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