Illinois women’s golf places 2nd at Hoosier Fall Invitational

The Illinois women’s golf team was hoping to grab a first place finish at the Hoosier Fall Invitational to have back-to-back wins early in its season; however, the Illini came up short, finishing second.

In three rounds at the par-71 Hickory Stick Golf Club, Illinois had a total score of 884 (32-over-par). This was 16 strokes higher than the first-place finishers of UC-Davis and three fewer strokes than Louisville. The biggest factor that played into their score was the weather. Saturday consisted of sleet, rain and chilly temperatures. Sunday was more mild, but there was a breeze, something the Illini had been able to work with.

“The practice round was a bit breezy as well, and the wind was blowing out of the same direction as it was today,” head coach Renee Slone said Sunday. “So that helped prepare us for the course conditions today.”

Slone felt the team performed better when the weather was more difficult to work with. She described the first round as “respectable,” and the second one was “very, very strong.” The final round, however, turned out differently.

“We just didn’t come in with three or four scores that we needed, you know,” Slone said. “And then you’re in that position to win the tournament, you’ve got to bring in four solid scores if you expect to have a chance to win. And so today, we just did not.”

Slone said that, unlike the team as a whole, senior Ember Schuldt played well in her final found. She placed third with a total score of 215 (2-over) and also managed to improve her scores for each round: 73, 72 and 70.

“Overall, she played very solid,” Slone said. “Her short game saved her a number of times. Her ball striking was not all that great, so it just goes to show that one doesn’t necessarily have to have their A-game to get the job done and figure out a way to get the ball in the hole. And she certainly did that, took advantage of opportunities she gave herself and minimized her mistakes.”

Something Slone has recently emphasized is the focus her team must have in order to win. This was not the case this past weekend, rather the problems were commitment and trust.

“Just making smart decisions and just trusting themselves over every single shot,” Slone said. “And realizing that sometimes, you’ve got to work with what you’ve got and just working with it. Instead of trying to fight it, just work with that, and make that happen.”

Freshman Stephanie Miller, who achieved her first individual victory last weekend, finished just outside of the top 10, placing 11th with a total score of 218 (5-over-par). Fellow freshman Emily Joers tied for 30th, while juniors Sam Postillion and Erin Ahern placed 25th and 82nd, respectively. Junior Jackie Calamaro didn’t compete with the team, but competed as an individual, where she tied for 55th place.

Ashley can be reached at [email protected] and @wijangco12.