Senior Megan Godfrey
April 15, 2006
The final tournament for seniors Megan Godfrey, Megan O'Neal and retiring head coach Paula Smith was a memorable one. Playing in front of a gallery of family and friends, Godfrey recorded three consecutive birdies to end with the best round of the tournament and a tie for third place.
"It's sad because it's my last home tournament, it's really sad actually," Godfey said. "I wanted to take home a win, but third's not bad. It's a good sign for the rest of our season. I'm excited knowing that I'm playing better and am confident in my shots. I'm hitting the ball great and my putting is coming along, so hopefully that means good things for the future."
Park needed five fewer shots on a sunny day two and tied with Cincinnati's Hillery Wilson for the second consecutive tournament. Three weeks ago at the Plantation Inn Invitational, both players tied for second, this weekend each shared sixth on the leaderboard.
"At first I struggled trying to get used to the greens," Park said. "Today I focused on my shots, trying to get close to it close to the hole hitting every fairway and green which I did. I had a couple bad holes, made some mistakes, but I came back with birdies. That was exciting."
Led by individual medalist Cathryn Bristow (two-over-par 146), team champion Oregon led from start to finish and was grateful to bring some hardware back to Eugene.
For the Illinois golf family the day was about much more than this weekend's finish. Rather it was an outpouring of thanks from Smith to her supporters who immediately reciprocated.
"It's been a wonderful ride and a wonderful journey," Smith said. "I don't think of this as the end, I think of this as just another chapter."
Following applause, Northern Illinois head coach Pam Tyska responded with an emotional speech that echoed all in attendance.
"Paula's a true role model for so many players and coaches alike," said Tyska. "She has done things the right way, not the easy way. She has never had any hidden agendas, and in so doing, she has cemented a path in collegiate women's golf that so many of us have followed and so many to follow in the future. She's touched so many lives so positively as a high school teacher and coach, as a college coach and a junior camp director extraordinaire. Paula is leaving so many thumbprints on college women's golf today."
Smith's senior tri-captain agreed that her mentor had left an indelible impression.
"I don't know what will happen without her because she's been part of Illinois golf for so long," Godfrey said. "Everyone who's ever played golf with her or with Illinois is going to miss her. She's had a great impact on Illinois golf and she will definitely always be in the spirit of Orange and Blue because she loves Orange and Blue more than anyone I've ever met."
Next weekend's Lady Buckeye Invitational in Columbus, Ohio is the last regular season event for Illinois before the Big Ten Championships in Bloomington, Ind.
Illinois Spring Classic final results 1. Oregon 307-303=610 2. Michigan 313-302=615 3. Iowa 308-310=618 4. ILLINOIS 314-305=619 5. Indiana 314-306=620 6. Cincinnati 314-311=625 7. Grand Valley State 316-311=627 8. Ball State 317-313=630 9. Bowling Green State 323-319=642 10. Western Michigan 330-314=644 11. Northern Illinois 332-313=645 12. Eastern Illinois 328-325=653 13. Truman State 341-324=665 14. Illinois Wesleyan 341-334=675 15. Indianapolis 339-338=677 16. Southern Indiana 348-338=686
Illinois results T3. Megan Godfrey 77-72=149 T6. Seul Ki Park 78-73=151 T19. Meghan Naik 76-80=156 T34. Nancy Featherstone (ind.) 79-81=160 T50. Stephanie Mory 83-80=163 T52. Casey Burden 83-81=164 T65. Kristi Kallergis (ind.) 88-81=169 T65. Megan O'Neal (ind.) 84-85=169 T 83. Kelsey O'Neal (ind.) 88-89=177