Illini Improve To Third At Wolverine Invitational
Sept. 23, 2012
Ann Arbor, Mich. - When Illinois head Renee Slone challenged her young team with three tournaments in under two weeks to start the team, she knew the youthfulness would rear its head once in a while. However, after a couple of rough finishes, the Illini took a big step forward with a tie for third at the Wolverine Invitational in Ann Arbor, Mich.
On Sunday, Illinois came through with the best round of the tournament by any team, posting a final round 20-over par 304 to move up a couple of places from Saturday's 36 holes.
Illinois tied with Xavier and Eastern Michigan for third at +81, just three strokes behind tournament co-winners Michigan and Florida International, who finished at +78 in the 14-team event.
"Today was a step forward for us," Illinois head coach Renee Slone said. "It was the first tournament of the year where our final round has been our best round of the tournament. Hopefully that is a sign that we are applying the lessons that we're learning."
Illinois' surge was reflected not only in the final round, but also in how the players finished down the stretch. Sophomore Michelle Mayer had two birdies in her final four holes en route to a 74, her best collegiate round of her career. Mayer also posted her best finish, a tie for sixth, with her best 54-hole score (232).
"Michelle played a solid round of golf today," Slone said. "She still has a lot of things to fine tune, but she did a lot of things well."
Junior Ember Schuldt joined Mayer in the sixth position after a final round 72, which included two birdies in her final six holes. Redshirt sophomore Samantha Postillion finished one stroke back in 12th at 233 after a final round 77. Jacqueline Calamaro (238) and sophomore Pimploy Thirati (245) finished 23rd and 40th, respectively. The Illini took the entire seven-player team with seniors Kaitlyn Wampler (62nd) and Crystal Smith (67th) joining the fivesome. Smith's final round 77 included 12 pars.
"With the first half of the fall season now under our belts, we have gathered a lot of information. Now we can concentrate on applying them in our final two events of the fall. Our focus is to put all the pieces together."