Women’s golf sees rough 2nd round at Florida invitational, finishes 7th

A rough second round proved to be costly for Illinois women’s golf in its first tournament following a three-week break.

The Illini competed in the Knights and Pirates Invitational in Melbourne, Fla., on Monday and Tuesday, their first tournament since March 20. They shot a 309 in the second round, which was far from the 296 and 297 they shot in the first and third rounds.

Illinois placed seventh out of 15 schools.

“Our first round and our third round were respectable,” head coach Renee Slone said. “Unfortunately, we did not have a very good second round, and that put is in a tough hole.”

Seniors Hailey Koschmann and Samantha Sloan led the way for the Illini, as both tied for 22nd individually, finishing 9-over-par for the tournament. The duo, however, experienced difficult second rounds that contributed to the team’s struggles.

“They each had two solid rounds, but the key to have a really good tournament is you have to put up the numbers all three rounds,” Slone said. “It was great for them to come back today and play solid rounds after stumbling a bit yesterday afternoon.

“That’s kind of how we played as a team as well, we started off pretty solid, then stumbled a bit in the second round, but then we came back in the final round,” Slone added.

Many of the team’s struggles occurred on the greens. Illinois experienced difficulties with putting, partially due to course conditions.

“Putting was one of our weaker areas for this tournament, especially during the second round,” Slone said. “The greens dried off in the afternoon yesterday, so it got a little bumpy. We just didn’t adjust to that as well as we needed to.”

Seniors Nora Lucas and Katelin Dilger and sophomore Ember Schuldt rounded out the scorecard for the Illini. Lucas and Schuldt finished at 12-over, while Dilger finished at 19-over.

Illinois aims to correct the mistakes in the next 10 days before it competes again. The Illini will travel to Columbus, Ohio, for the Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational, which takes place April 21 and 22.

“It’s a matter of fine-tuning a few things and getting the pieces of the puzzle to all fit at the same time,” Slone said. “Heading forward, there definitely are a lot of positives, we just need to stay sharp and be ready to go for Ohio State then the Big Ten (Championships).”