Illinois Women Win Diane Thomason Invitational
Oct. 13, 2013
IOWA CITY, Iowa.- The Illinois Women's golf team held off Kansas Sunday morning to secure the team victory at the Diane Thomason Invitational at Finkbine Golf Course in Iowa City, Iowa. Illinois shot +35 over the three round tournament, besting second place Kansas, who shot a +40. In addition, freshman Stephanie Miller had the lowest individual score for the tournament, becoming the first Illinois freshman since 1992 to win a tournament outright.
"I'm very proud of the team and how we handled ourselves," said Illini head coach Renee Slone. "I think we learned a lot from the tournament in Minnesota a couple weeks ago and they applied it today. Everybody focused on themselves and their game plan and stuck to that game plan. It's a season of building and each tournament we've been taking one step further in that process and improving day by day."
The last time the Illini won a tournament and produced an individual champion was in February of 2012 at the Westbrook Spring Invitational, when Nora Lucas shot an individual school record of -11 and the Illini finished a school record -11 as a team (for 54 holes).
This weekend, Miller shot -3 to win the Diane Thomason Invitational, which ranks as the sixth lowest score in Illinois history for a 54-hole tournament. The freshman won the tournament by a staggering 10 strokes, shooting a -5 the final two rounds. Miller is the first Illinois freshman to win a tournament outright since Becky Biehl won the Big Ten Championship in 1992.
"It felt amazing," Miller explained. "It was the first time I've had a 54-hole score under par and I hit the ball pretty solid and made some putts and had some nice low scores. I played out for the win and it was just a bonus to my three good rounds."
"Stephanie played a fantastic round of golf today," continued Slone. "She was just rock solid the entire day and played fearless. She managed her emotions well and couldn't be happier and prouder of her to win in her third college event, it's extremely exciting."
Senior Ember Schuldt continued her strong play this season, shooting a team second best +9, placing her tied for fourth overall individually. Redshirt-junior Sam Postillion and freshman Emily Joers placed third and fourth for the Illini respectively, shooting +12 and +17.
With the win, the Illini continue their streak of solid play to start the 2013-14 season. The Illini have finished third, second and first in their first three tournaments of the year. This weekend, the Orange and Blue bested four other schools ranked in the Top-50, including Big Ten rivals No. 18 Ohio State and No. 35 Wisconsin.
"We'll continue that (building) process. We have plenty of work to do but we're happy and we'll celebrate the victory on the way home but come Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday we'll get back to work so we're well prepared for this next weekend at Indiana," Slone Stated. "It was an exciting weekend and a huge confidence boost for the team. It opens their eyes and shows them what they're capable of and we feel like we're just scratching the surface."