Women’s golf hopes record round performance carries over to South Bend

Fall ball is in full swing as the Illinois women’s golf team heads to South Bend, Ind., for the Notre Dame Invitational. There, the Illini will face No. 24 Ohio State, No. 33 Kent State and No. 35 Louisville, along with 10 other teams.

Illinois is coming off a 10th place finish in the Ptarmagin Ram Fall Classic, where a school-record round has the team feeling confident for this weekend. The team’s score of 285 in the second round set a new record for lowest round in school history. The Illini will need similar efforts this weekend in order to compete with the field.

The problem was that the Illini were unable to capitalize on that performance in the following round.

“You like to see scores trending downward from round to round,” head coach Renee Slone said. “Unfortunately we weren’t able to carry that over into the third round.”

The Illini need to work on consistency in South Bend, as well.

“We obviously know we can compete with the best teams from our second score being so low,” junior Sammi Sloan said. “We need to work on consistency and hitting more greens.”

Sloan went on to say the Illini are feeling confident heading into this tournament.

Illinois had two weeks to prepare for the upcoming tournament.

The Orange and Blue used the time to work on things that worked well for that spectacular second round.

“We need to be more consistent with our irons and hit more greens,” said Sloan, again stressing the need for better approach shots.

Slone said the team used the time to work on course management, the short game and bunker play.

If the Illini expect to compete against the talented field, they are going to need another solid effort from junior Hailey Koschmann, who finished 20th in the tournament. Koschmann shot a 71 in the first round and a 69 in the second — both rounds under par.

“I made a lot of putts in those first two rounds and hit a lot of greens,” she said.

Heading into this tournament, there are many things the players said will help recapture the level of play that helped them set that record. Koschmann said the team needs to take things shot by shot.

Sloan said the players need to not worry about what they shot on the previous hole. Fellow junior Nora Lucas, however, was more direct in her strategy.

“I just think we need to shoot better scores and worry about putting the ball into the hole,” Lucas said.