Illini women’s golf finish 9th at Big Ten Championship

By Lucas Wright

Another Illinois women’s golf freshman stepped up in a big way this weekend at the Big Ten Championship.

Freshman Jan Prapassarangkul led the Illini wire-to-wire, posting a first-round score of even par to put her in the top-15 going into round two at The Fort Golf Course in Indianapolis.

She stumbled through the second round, where she posted a 6-over-par 78. The round featured a four-hole stretch when she was 5-over. Prapassarangkul recovered in the final round, however, posting a 1-under 71 to finish in a tie for 16th with a score of 5-over 221. 

“I was just able to score well, and that doesn’t mean I necessarily played well,” Prapassarangkul. “My short game was really good and I was able to save lots of shots from that.” 

As a team, Illinois finished ninth with a score of 43-over 907, 44 shots out of first and eight shots behind eighth-place Maryland. The Illini were consistent throughout the tournament, shooting 302, 303 and 302 in the three rounds, but failed to get any momentum going to rise up the leaderboard.

Illinois was plagued by poor individual hole scores over the course of the three rounds, tallying over 100 bogies or worse. Illinois didn’t recover from the high scores, placing 12th in total pars with 157 and 10th in birdies with 23.

There was a large gap on the leaderboard from Prapassarangkul to the next Illini finisher. Freshman Grace Park tied for 36th. She struggled to recover from her opening round 7-over 79. Even though she posted a 1-under 71 in round two, Park shot a 77 to finish at 11-over 227.

“She bounced back well (on Saturday),” head coach Renee Slone said. “It was the most challenging day of the three by the poor weather, and she played very solid golf. She didn’t let the weather affect her in any way.” 

A surprise for the Illini was the disappointing play of Stephanie Miller. The sophomore placed in a tie for 41st with a total score of 12-over 228. Miller’s score rose across her three rounds — she shot a 75, 76 and 77 across rounds one, two and three respectively

Rounding out the Illini were freshman Dana Gattone, who finished tied for 60th at 17-over, senior Pimploy Thirati, who placed 65th with a 19-over finish and sophomore Emily Joers, who ended with a 36-over 82nd-place finish. 

Although the Illini didn’t perform well in the Big Ten Championship, hope is still alive for the NCAA Regional. The NCAA Women’s Golf Championships selection show will be Monday, April 27. The Illini hope to hear their name called for a berth in the regional.

“We didn’t put ourselves in a very good position this weekend,” Slone said. “We will wait and see and we will definitely have our fingers crossed.”

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