Chip Shots with Samantha Sloan
April 1, 2009
Go behind the scenes of Illinois women's golf with "Chip Shots", the online golf journal. In the 10th edition of the season, freshman Samantha Sloan describes the team's spring break trip to Oregon, the Duck Invitational and all the "firsts" each member experienced.
"Rain, rain, go away." That was the song we sang over our spring break spent in Oregon this past week. We arrived in Portland on Saturday night and were welcomed with showers. Sunday was the practice round for the 2009 Duck Invitational at Shadow Hills CC hosted by the University of Oregon, which showed us some of the most interesting weather most of us had ever played in. During the round, we enjoyed the warm sun, and battled rain, wind, and even hail a few times! On Monday, we played 36 holes that also included that crazy weather, but we were prepared this time. We played well our first two rounds considering the conditions. Tuesday didn't go as well as the first rounds, and we finished the tournament in 9th place. We learned that we still have some things to work on and will be improving them in the coming weeks.
After the tournament, it was time to relax as we were finally on spring break. On Wednesday morning, we drove from Eugene to Bandon where we again were welcomed with showers. This time a little more extreme, but it didn't stop us! As you might have guessed, Bandon, Oregon is the home of Bandon Dunes, the 13th-ranked course in the world. We were pumped to play there and the weather didn't stop us! We only got 9 holes in on Bandon on Wednesday. When we got done, we were soaked, but the experience and beautiful course was worth it. When the weather calmed down, we hopped in the car and went for a leisurely drive. Along the way, we found a trail that Rick, Nora, and I explored and we found a gecko! When we got to the beach, Nancy made friends with a few hermit crabs that, unfortunately, we could not bring back with us. On Thursday, the weather let up and we were able to play 18 holes on Pacific Dunes and the back 9 at Bandon.
Illinois golf has brought me more than just competitive golf this year. My first time playing in Florida, first time in Texas, first time seeing the Gulf of Mexico, and on this trip, I got to see the ocean for the first time! The Pacific lines the two courses, and it was quite a sight. I can't think of a better way to enjoy it than from one of the most beautiful courses I have ever seen. Friday was another day of firsts as we went sightseeing on Highway 101, which runs all along the coast. I got to see mountains for the first time, as well, and it was everyone's first time whale watching! We stopped at various points along the road, one that included a point where whales are seen often. We spotted a few as they were migrating north. We also stopped at the World's Largest Sea Lion Cave and Cook's Chasm. The sights along the coast were too beautiful to even begin to describe. We filled our cameras with pictures from every stop.
Saturday, we were back to the links and we all enjoyed playing Pumpkin Ridge GC, the site of many USGA Championships, including the 1997 and 2006 US Women's Open. Once again, it rained the entire round, but we had so much fun playing another challenging course. And for the final first of the trip, we got to see the Multnomah waterfall that afternoon. It was a perfect ending to our stay in Oregon. Needless to say, this spring break was an experience that none of us will ever forget. With Big Tens less than a month away, you can bet that we'll be working hard on all areas of our game until then. In the meantime, keep checking the website for updates!
Peace, Love, and ILLINI