Illinois women’s golf finishes 11th at Briar’s Creek Invitational
March 31, 2014
The Illinois women’s golf team used a strong third round to jump four spots in the standings for an 11th place finish at the Briar’s Creek Invitational at the Golf Club at Briar’s Creek in Johns Island, S.C.
The Illini ended the 17-team tournament with a final score of 919, 55-over-par. Monday was the first day of competition for the golfers, which featured the first two rounds of the tournament. These proved to be a real dilemma for the Illini, as they scored 316 and 310, respectively. There was also a total of 52 bogeys and 16 double bogeys or above.
Head coach Renee Slone mentioned the weather conditions really affected her team on the first day.
“There were 20, 30 mile-per-hour winds, and we just struggled with that,” Slone said. “We made a lot of big numbers, which we didn’t recover from.”
Illinois has experience with playing with wind, but the combination of the wind and the golf course’s complexity made it more difficult than what it’s used to. It’s something, as senior Ember Schuldt added, the Illini needed to get reacquainted with.
Following the first day of competition, Illinois discussed the changes that needed to be made. Flighting shots, in particular, was something the golfers needed to be wary of because the winds would affect the shots much more if they were hit normally. The Illini also had to pay extra attention to the fast greens.
“The first two rounds we just didn’t put ourselves in best positions, and the wind got to us,” Schuldt said. “We were able to, on the second day, learn from those mistakes and really focus.”
For the third and final round, Illinois showed its ability to rebound from its initial struggles. The Illini’s third round score of 293 was down 17 strokes from their second round score. They also decreased their bogeys to 21 and only had two holes where they scored a double bogey or higher.
Much of the improvement in the final round was due to the golfers increased comfort level and their ability to recover.
“The girls, and myself included, bounced back from a few mistakes that we had a lot quicker,” freshman Emily Joers said. “And we were just more relaxed and more confident in ourselves, and that really translated over into just playing better rounds for each and every one of us.”
The Briar’s Creek Invitational was Illinois’ third competition of the spring season. After achieving only top five finishes in the fall, the Illini have yet to crack the top five in any tournament so far this spring. It’s this fact that’s keeping the golfers going as the regular season approaches its end.
“We really want to come out there and play solid, ‘cause we know we’re capable of it,” Schuldt said. “It’s really provided us with more motivation to really work hard these next few weeks to finish out the spring season and into postseason.”
Ashley can be reached at [email protected] and @wijangco12.