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    Thirati Makes Charge at Betsy Rawls
    Illinois sophomore Pimploy Thirati shot a final round 71 on Tuesday.

    Illinois sophomore Pimploy Thirati shot a final round 71 on Tuesday.

    Oct. 30, 2012

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    After taking a big hit due to graduation, Illinois women's golf has turned to a new group of players to help lead the Illini during the 2012-13 season. Pimploy Thirati, a sophomore from Bangkok, Thailand, is one of those playing her first competitive season with the Fighting Illini.

    Thirati posted her two best collegiate rounds, including her lifetime best round, at this week's Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational. On Tuesday, Thirati posted a one-under par 71 on the 6,344-yard par 72 University of Texas Course to finish a career-best 37th in a competitive field that included a number of ranked teams.

    "I really think that she has realized that this game is played from the shoulders up," Slone said of the turnaround for her young player. "She played smart and steady this week, nothing flashy."

    Aside from her first nine holes Monday, Thirati put together 45 strong holes of golf, posting a round of 73 on Sunday and shooting even par on her second nine holes on Monday. Overall, Thirati finished at +9 for the tournament.

    "For the most part, she managed her way around the golf course very well and avoided the big numbers," Slone said. "I'm hoping this a huge turning point for her and the start of bigger and better things to come."

    After struggling as a team in the tournament's first two days, Illinois posted its best round of the fall, a 10-over par 298, which included three total scores under 75. Junior Emily Schuldt and sophomore Jacqueline Calamaro each shot 74.

    No. 2 Florida and No. 6 Alabama tied for the team lead at -1 with the Gators being declared the winner on a tiebreaker. Arkansas (E) and Arizona State (+5) rounded out the top four teams. Florida's Camilla Hedberg defeated Alabama's Jennifer Kirby in a playoff for individual medalist honors at -8.

    Illinois finished 15th in the tournament at +63. After Thirati, Schuldt tied for 50th at +12, sophomore Samantha Postillion was 60th at +16, Calamaro was 77th at +29 and freshman Michelle Meyer was 80th at +34.

    Despite the tough overall finish, Slone said, "It was great we were able to end on a positive note. It was played on a golf course that was a good test. We had three solid rounds today. Our goal is to get four each time out, so this is a step in the right direction."

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