Senior Crystal Smith competed in the team lineup for the first time this season.
March 11, 2013
Mesa, Ariz. – The University of Illinois women’s golf team had a disappointing outing this past weekend, finishing in 16th place out of 16 teams at the Clover Cup, hosted by Notre Dame at the Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, Ariz. The Illini led by one stroke over Cincinnati after the first round, but the Bearcats improved drastically over the final two rounds, as Illinois dropped to 16th with a final score of 321-321-324=966 at the par-72, 6,209-yard course.
“Putting was not very solid across the board,” said Head Coach Renee Slone, “and confidence levels for the team are probably at an all-time low. It seems like they are in a very fragile state at the moment, in that it doesn’t take much for that confidence to get rocked. We’ve got to just simply be a mentally tougher team.”
Redshirt sophomore Samantha Postillion pushed past teammate Crystal Smith in the final round to lead the team with a tournament total of 236 (+20). Smith, who led the team at the Westbrook Spring Invite to earn a spot in the team lineup for the first time this year, finished one stroke behind Postillion in a tie for 68th.
“Crystal is one who has been fairly confident in herself, hence the results she’s been getting,” said Slone. “I think she seems to be in a really good place mentally, really feels extremely well-prepared, and has more confidence in herself, probably, than she ever has in her four years here, and I think the results speak to that. Obviously, there are some things that we are still striving to improve upon, but that’s where it starts.”
Oklahoma, ranked third nationally by GolfWeek, won the Clover Cup with a team score of 862 (-2), posting a 281 (-7) in the first round of the tournament. No. 33 SMU narrowly held on to the second-place position with an 880 (+16) and No. 13 Texas Tech finished two strokes behind in third.
Tulsa’s Kristina Merkle shot a six-under 66 in the third round to jump up nine spots and take home the tournament championship with a 72-72-66=210 (-6). Oklahoma’s Chirapat Jao-Javanil came in second, shooting a 212 (-4), and Emily Collins (Oklahoma) and Jenny Haglund (SMU) tied for third with a 214 (-2).
The Illini have a quick turnaround, returning to the links on Feb. 15-17 for the Insperity Lady Jaguar in Augusta, Ga.