Illinois women’s golf takes 8th at Westbrook Spring Invitational

There was a sense of dissatisfaction present in head coach Renee Slone’s voice. 

An eighth place finish for the Illinois women’s golf team was disappointing, especially for a team who finished below fifth in the fall.

“We just did not bring our A-games and left a lot of shots out there,” Slone said.

The Illini scored 875, 11-over-par, in a field of 14 teams at the Westbrook Spring Invitational in Peoria, Ariz., from Feb. 23-24 at the Westbrook Village Golf Club Vistas Course.

Senior Ember Schuldt emphasized the fact that the course itself was said to be straightforward and without many tricks. Along with this advantage, Illinois had a practice round Saturday to get a feel for the course; however, it wasn’t as much help as it could have been.

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    “It still requires just as much focus as any other golf course,” Slone said. “And I don’t know if some of that created a false sense of security or lulled players into a lack of focus.”

    One of the things that stood out were the greens. Slone mentioned they were firm and played slower than what the Illini are used to. Because of that, Illinois needed an aggressive mind set on the greens.

    Slone was unsure as to why the golfers struggled to keep that mind set, but the team was stuck assessing itself after the tournament.

    This was something Illinois took from the practice round but was unable to take advantage of in the first two rounds. The final round, which took place on Monday, fared better, though.

    After the lack of aggression to begin, the team really discussed the importance of it and acted upon it. The Illini also practiced on the putting green after the upsetting first two rounds. Illinois scored 292 and 293 in the first two rounds and went down to 290 for the last one. While the eighth-place finish itself was a disappointment, the Illini strived to improve every day, making that one success they could take away from the competition.

    While the team’s finish was not up to expectations, freshman Stephanie Miller tied three other golfers for sixth place by scoring 213, three-under par.

    The one thing Illinois will take from this tournament, though, is to take advantage of the opportunities given to it.

    “In realizing that when opportunity is staring you in the face, you need to step up and be aggressive,” Slone said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to take advantage of every single opportunity, but it will certainly give you a greater opportunity to do so.”

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