Illinois women’s golf takes the win at the Illinois Challenge exhibition

The Illinois women’s golf team began its spring season with a 9.5-2.5 victory over Illinois State in the Illinois Challenge exhibition Sunday.

Freshman Stephanie Miller, junior Pimploy Thirati, junior Jackie Calamaro, freshman Emily Joers, junior Erin Ahern and senior Ember Schuldt all won their individual matches. Junior Samantha Postillion tied Illinois State’s Courtnee Cossell in their matchup while junior Michelle Mayer was the lone Illini to lose individually.

The tournament used an atypical, four-ball match play style, which head coach Renee Slone said changed the team’s approach when taking the course.

The match play proved to not be a problem, though, as the only Illinois pair to lose was the duo of Postillion and Thirati. The difference in match play was something the Illini had focused on in practices prior to the exhibition. They were also able to match their physical success with mental concentration.

“Everybody did a good job of staying patient, staying positive and really staying committed to the process and sticking to that throughout the day,” Slone said. “That was a great way to start the spring season, and we look forward to carrying that forward.”

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    Despite the dominance the Illini showed Sunday, there are still improvements to be made before the actual competition begins. Each golfer has different aspects to focus on in the upcoming weeks. As for team improvements, Slone said “one thing is just trying to get our legs underneath us.”

    “Toward the end, you could see tired swings being made, just a little bit of sloppy play, so we need to tidy that up a bit,” she said.

    There’s more to focus on than the physical aspect of the game, though. Slone emphasized the necessity of staying committed and focusing on what the team can control.

    “The nature of golf so many times is going to be results-oriented,” Slone said. “At the end of the day, the score is what everybody is looking at, but if you focus all of your energy on just that number, you fail to stay focused on the process, and it’s the process that allows you to post that number.”

    “If we just take care of the things that we can control, the end result will take care of itself,” Slone added. 

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