Chip Shots with Crystal Smith

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P3210267.JPGGet behind the scenes of Illinois women's golf with Chip Shots, the online blog update for the squad. In this season's ninth edition, junior Crystal Smith recounts the team's tournament at the BYU Entrada Classic and their memorable experiences during spring break in Utah. Be sure to also take a look at the photos from Entrada and Zion National Park.

Hey Illini fans,

We are now back from our spring break trip to Utah. My team and I made so many memories last week that we will remember for the rest of our lives. We played two amazing courses and found time to hike in Zion National Park. It was definitely a spring break that will be something to talk about for years to come.

We arrived in Las Vegas on Saturday and drove to St. George, Utah, that afternoon.  The team, especially Jacqueline Calamaro, was excited to be physically in all four time zones. The mountains I saw on the way to St. George were only the beginning of the mountains I would play golf through and climb with my team.

BYU's Entrada Classic was by far the prettiest golf course I have ever played on. At times I found it hard to remember I was on a golf course because I felt like I was on a movie set. The tournament at Entrada had some highlights. Hailey Koschmann took home some hardware by placing second individually. Way to go Hailey!  Our team placed fourth out of twelve teams. Although we are not happy with our finish as a team, we all know what we need to focus on heading into our next tournament on the other side of the country in Florida.

Our spring break at Entrada is one of our favorite tournaments because of the breathtaking course and the host families. It is always nice to stay in a house when we travel. This year Hailey, Nora, and I stayed with the Chodroff's. Ember and Jackie stayed with the Jensen's.  And Katie stayed with the Pichetti's. We were always greeted with a smile (or food) when we walked in the door from our day on the links. It felt like we were right at home. A big thanks to them for making our tournament more comfortable and fun.

I don't know about you, but I have never seen a course with lava before. Entrada's 15th, 16th, and 17th holes are called the "lava triangle." Instead of rough, water, or trees outlining the fairway, the "lava triangle" has lava surrounding the fairways. It was incredible to play and test our accuracy. The lava was a sight to see, but the mountains surrounding the course were breathtaking as well. The course was surrounded by snow capped and red mountains. We weren't in flat Champaign anymore. Entrada proved to be great preparation for our hillier tournaments at the Scarlet course at Ohio State and French Lick at Big Tens.

The fun didn't end on Tuesday when the tournament was over. Coach Slone and Coach Jackie took us to Zion National Park. We hiked the upper emerald pools and riverside walk trails. I can't explain in words the beauty of the waterfalls and mountains we climbed through. Both hikes went so fast because there were so many scenes to take in at once. We saw the sun rise over the mountains in the east and waterfalls spilling over the mountains in the west. None of us could put our cameras or phones down because there were so many unforgettable scenes. I can speak for everyone on this team when I say Zion Park was one of the highlights of our college career as an Ilini.

After our hiking adventure, we went to Coral Canyon Golf Course in St. George. It was another hilly course that we don't encounter too often in Champaign. We played a competitive 18 holes with a best ball format: underclassmen vs. the seniors. Ember, Jackie and I came out on top beating the seniors, just in case you were wondering who won. It was a fun and exciting day on an unfamiliar course that will also prepare us for future tournaments.

All in all, our spring break trip was very eventful and exciting. We all enjoyed taking a break from school and playing some great golf. Although we are sad to leave Utah and the amazing scenery, we are happy to be back home in Champaign-Urbana. We have some work to do to prepare for our next tournament in Florida and beyond. It's time to take advantage of this warm weather, and finish off our spring season strong. Let's go Illini!

See you on the links,
Crystal Smith

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Nice job girls ! Let's go Illini !

Coral Canyon is a wonderful golf course

Guys you are just awesome! Nice story and photo...

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