Illinois women’s golf notches top-four finish at Schooner Fall Classic

Senior+Crystal+Wang+looks+for+her+next+move+on+the+putting+green+during+the+Schooner+Fall+Classic.+The+team+finished+in+a+tie+for+fourth+with+Florida+State.

Photo Courtesy of Illinois Athletics

Senior Crystal Wang looks for her next move on the putting green during the Schooner Fall Classic. The team finished in a tie for fourth with Florida State.

By Andre Thomas, Staff Writer

Everybody can’t be a winner because there is only one first-place trophy, which means you have to outplay and out-train your opponent. Oklahoma State did just that, winning the Schooner Fall Classic this Sunday and Monday with 824 points. Illinois tied for fourth place with Florida State, with both teams getting a score of 855 points.

The Illini secured their second top-five finish this year, showing that they are still a top contender in the NCAA and exceeding those preseason expectations. The beginning of this fall classic was very rough for Illinois, but the second round Illinois managed to get the second-lowest score, giving them a big jump in front of multiple schools.

We applied some key items we learned at our first tournament which led to a solid first day of play,” said head coach Renee Slone. “We had a bit of a slow start to Monday’s round and put ourselves in some difficult spots to score from. Another step forward as we continue to build throughout the season.”

Slone understands that the Illini have the opportunity to have a better season than last year since last season the team began the year barely making top 10. Even though the pandemic was a huge factor in preventing teams from training last year and the fall season was canceled, Illinois still had a chance to win the NCAA Championship, which is something they will be able to give another shot at this year.

Illinois preseason expectations were high this year, which means all eyes are gonna be on the three Illini members who were on the Golfers to Watch list made this preseason. Siyan Chen, Kornkamol Sukaree and Crystal Wang were the members on that list. Even though expectations were high, the Illini still performed at a high level.  Sukaree ended the weekend in a tie for seventh place while almost getting a career low in 54-hole strokes. Wang and Chen were tied for 27th place, even after having comeback  performances in the final round.

“I know that I have to focus on being patient when I’m on the golf course because nervousness hinders your skills,” Chen said. “I think Crystal, Kornkamol and I have to continue being leaders on this team for us to still have a fighting chance of being relevant. I just have to get more birdies and help my team zone in the next game.” 

Illinois has one week before it has its next event, which is the Blessings Collegiate Invitational at the Blessings Golf Club on Oct. 4-6. They will travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas for the three-day tournament.

 

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