Illinois women’s golf looks to get back on track

By Lucas Wright

Add another Big Ten Player of the Week award to the list for the Illinois women’s golf team this season.

Freshman Jan Prapassarangkul was honored for her play last week at the Westbrook Spring Invitational. She finished with a score of 3-under par on the tournament and placed third overall.

Head coach Renee Slone said that she is excited to see what is in store for the freshman following her best tournament of the year.

“I think this gives her an enormous amount of confidence, not only to getting the results she deserves for all the time she put in, but more so from the fact that she didn’t do everything perfectly,” Slone said. “She didn’t do everything great, but she managed her game and herself extremely well.”

Prapassarangkul was the lone bright spot for the Illini last week; however, Illinois will try to turn the tide this week at the Hurricane Invitational in Coral Gables, Florida.

The week of practice leading up to the event in Florida was a rough one of sorts for the Illini. Most of the team struggled with an illness that surfaced in the beginning of the week, according to freshman Dana Gattone.

“We weren’t sure if it was the stomach flu or possibly food poisoning,” Gattone said. “Basically half of our team was a little bit under the weather, so we’ve been working on just getting better for this week. That’s been our main goal.”

Aside from getting over a stomach bug, Illinois has been hard at work preparing for the tough course it will face. The Biltmore Golf Course, created by famous course designer Donald Ross, is known for its quirky greens and tight lies.

“It’s a typical Donald Ross course,” sophomore Stephanie Miller said. “There’s doglegs and you have to land the ball in certain areas. He just messes with your head and you just have to know that you have the opportunity to hit the shot even though it doesn’t look like you can.”

Slone said she had the team working on short game for the majority of the week. She focused on teaching the Illini how to deal with the low-lying collection areas around the greens and how to approach elevated greens.

Illinois will take the same team to Florida as it did in its last event. The lineup will consist of Miller, Gattone, Prapassarangkul, sophomore Emily Joers and freshman Grace Park. Senior Pimploy Thirati will round out the group, and she will compete as an individual.

The Illini will face off against a strong field of 16 teams, including five fellow Big Ten teams: Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, Michigan and Penn State. Illinois will enter the tournament as the 62nd-ranked team in the nation, one spot higher than last week.

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