Illinois women's golf headed to Hawaii and Georgia

By Benjy Sabitt

Tweet: #Illini women’s golf to try to continue improving over next two competitions

The Illinois women’s golf team has been preparing for an upcoming schedule.

The Illini will head to Hawaii this weekend to play in the Dr. Donnis Thompson Invitational, a two-day competition that begins on March 22. The team will fly non-stop from Hawaii to Georgia for the Hennsler Financial Intercollegiate, which will take place on March 28-29.

Coming off of an eighth-place finish in the 3M Augusta Invitational last week, the players will look to build off their performance.

In the 3M Augusta invitational, the Illini were able to stay competitive throughout the tournament, playing with a talented field, which included four of the top-50 teams in the country.

The Illini joined Maryland as the only two teams in the Big Ten that were represented in this invitational.

“It’s a really good experience being able to play against teams that we don’t normally see,” sophomore Jan Prapassarangkul said. “We were able to learn different things from the teams we played against that will help us.”

Sophomore Dana Gattone also felt positively about the team’s experience at this tournament.

“We moved up on the last day and put ourselves within a couple strokes of some really good teams,” Gattone said. “I think that will give us confidence going forward.”

The team has been gradually improving through its first two tournaments of the spring season. The Illini will look to carry this momentum to the remaining three and through the Big Ten Championships.

Head coach Renee Slone is happy that her team continues building confidence and gaining mental strength.

“I think just we just need to capitalize on opportunities,” Slone said. “I think the team has done a good job of staying mentally strong, but we could still be a little bit stronger when we face adversity.”

Slone has been preaching to stay mentally strong throughout the tournament. The game of golf presents many obstacles, and Slone believes that mental strength is an aspect of the game that cannot be emphasized enough.

Including last weeks tournament, the Illini will play three tournaments in three weeks. This gives the team a chance to play against different competition in different parts of the world. The team did not compete in Hawaii’s tournament last season.

“I think this gives our players an opportunity to play in parts of the country where they have never played before,” Slone said. “This gives us a chance to play many different types of courses and see a lot of different teams.”

During this three-week span, the team will endure a lot of travel.

They flew back to Illinois from Augusta, Georgia this week and will be going to Oahu, Hawaii this weekend. After the Dr. Donnis Thompson Invitational, the team will head back to Georgia for the Hennsler Financial Intercollegiate Invitational, which is taking place in Kennesaw, Georgia. 

Slone shot down the idea that all the travel will pose a problem.

“We will have two days in Georgia before the tournament starts,” Slone said. “That will give us a chance to acclimate ourselves to Eastern Time, and get some practice in before the tournament.

The general feeling among the players is that the trip will be beneficial because the teak wants to play in as many tournaments as possible.

“I think the more we compete the better,” Prapassarangkul said. “I think we do a pretty good job of maintaining ourselves, so that shouldn’t be much of a problem.”