Women's Golf
Illini Prepare for Second Straight Westbrook Invitational

With her prior experience at the Westbrook Invitational, Schuldt looks to lead the Orange and Blue to victory
With her prior experience at the Westbrook Invitational, Schuldt looks to lead the Orange and Blue to victory

Feb. 21, 2013

PEORIA, Ariz. - The Illinois women's golf team will launch its 2013 spring tournament season in Peoria, Ariz., where the team will contend with 12 other teams in the Westbrook Spring Invitational on Feb. 24-25. Playing host to the tournament is the Big Ten's very own University of Wisconsin, weighing in with a national rank of 44 thus far. The action is set to take place at the par-72, 6,269-yard Westbrook Village Golf Club Vistas Course. Competing teams are scheduled to play 36 holes on Sunday, and an additional 18 holes on Monday, with a 9:30 a.m. CT shotgun start for both days.

Accompanying the Illini in the 13-team pool will be Big Ten opponents Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa and Nebraska, along with Golfweek/Sagarain's seventh-ranked Arkansas, ninth-ranked Washington and Texas Tech (14). The rest of the field of play is comprised of Mississippi State, Washington State, Kansas State, Eastern Michigan and Colorado State. 

"Now that we're heading into our spring tournament season, we're really looking at confidence to be a key factor for us," said head coach Renee Slone. "That was one thing that was a bit of a challenge for us in the fall; it fluctuated quite a bit so we've been spending a lot of time focusing on that. One of our  goals is to maintain a strong belief in ourselves and our abilities throughout the course of each and every practice and tournament. So heading into this particular tournament, we'll strive to start the season off on a positive note and look to build from there. We ended the fall with our best round of the season and that was just a small snapshot of our ability to execute like that on a daily basis."

Scheduled competitors for Illinois at the Westbrook Invitational include junior Ember Schuldt, redshirt sophomores Samantha Postillion and Jacqueline Calamaro and sophomores Pimploy Thirati and Michelle Mayer. Furthermore, senior Crystal Smith will also make the trip to Arizona to compete as an individual in the tournament. All five golfers in Illinois' lineup experienced action in every one of the five fall tournaments; however, Schuldt is the only golfer in the lineup to have previously competed at the Westbrook Invite. 

Prior to this tournament, the first weekend of February bore witness to the Illini's first event, which came in the form of the annual Illinois Challenge. The challenge was a match play event versus Illinois State and featured four ball matches followed by individual matches between the two teams. The Orange and Blue defeated Illinois State with a score of 6-3 and, thereby, remained victors of the Illinois Challenge for a fifth consecutive year.

"Everyone was able to gain a significant level of confidence from the win at the Illinois Challenge," Slone said. "In the past couple of weeks we've steadily built up that fortitude and now everyone is excited to put all of that work and practice to the test."

For coverage of the Illinois women's golf team at the Westbrook Spring Invitational, visit fightingillini.com for a full recap at the end of each day's contest. Fans can also follow the action live by visiting the following link, http://www.golfstatresults.com/public/index.cfm?tournament_id=3549.