Illinois women’s golf to compete in Intercollegiate tournament

The last time the Illinois women’s golf team competed, it finished 11th at the Briars Creek Invitational. Although it didn’t place as well as it hoped, the Illini ended that tournament on a strong note, and they are hoping to use that momentum heading into their next competition.

Illinois will compete at the Intercollegiate tournament at the Marsh Landing Country Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Illinois is one of 19 teams competing Monday and Tuesday at the par-72, 5,967 yard golf course.

“We are feeling well prepared,” assistant coach Jenny Coluccio said. “After reflecting on the tournament with each player and our team stats, we feel (last) week in practice has been very beneficial.”

Another reason the Illini feel prepared is because last year’s team competed at this course. Junior Michelle Mayer mentioned the course is “very straightforward,” and that “what you see is what you get.” The team knows what to expect and will be aware of what kinds of opportunities the course presents.

“The yardages for each hole are identical to last year, but depending on the conditions, it may play differently,” head coach Renee Slone said. “There likely will be some scoring opportunities with short irons into some greens on the par-5s and a couple of the shorter par-4s. Positioning ourselves off the tee will be a key area.”

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Junior Sam Postillion, in particular, did well with the par-5s at Marsh Landing last season. She mentioned her wedge game is still good, which will be beneficial for the shorter par-5s.

Despite some familiarity, the golfers will still need to be aware of water hazards. “We just all need to be able to trust our games because I know that we’re all capable of scoring really well out of this golf course,” Postillion said. “We got to trust that we can all score well because this course does have a lot of good opportunities.”

Illinois began the spring season at the Westbrook Spring Invitational and played on a course that was also described as “straightforward.” Even so, the golfers were unable to take advantage of those opportunities. That prompted Slone to emphasize to her team how vital that is for success.

Aside from the course itself, there will be 18 opposing teams. The Illini competed in a field of 19 teams to end the fall season, but this will be the first time they have done that during the spring. Neither the coaches nor golfers expect the extra competitors to provide more obstacles. If anything were to stand in the Illini’s way, though, it would be the pace of play at the tournament.

“Pace of play is going to be interesting since everyone will be riding in carts, which is out of the norm, so we will just have to stay patient with that,” Coluccio said. “However, at the end of the day it is just golf, no matter how many other people are there, all you can do is focus on you and play your own game.”

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