Junior Kristine Cook
April 18, 2007
Go behind the scenes of Illinois women's golf with "Chip Shots", the online golf journal. In the fifth edition, junior Kristine Cook talks about the team's recent success at the Indiana Invitational as they head into their final regular season tournament in Columbus this weekend.
We started off last week with much excitement knowing that we were first, going to be competing in our home tournament, and second going to be leaving the day after for the Indiana Invitational at Crooked Stick. Unfortunately, the weather had other plans for us. We only played five holes before the coach's pulled everyone in and decided that the Illini Spring Classic, our home tournament, would have to be cancelled. The wind chill was below 25 degrees, which by NCAA rules, we must suspend play, not to mention the 40 mile per hour gusting winds. It gave us the rest of the day Friday and Saturday to use our indoor facility to prepare for our next endeavor. Heading into the Indiana Invitational was still nerve wrecking because the weather was not promising. I knew if we stayed mentally tough that we would play well.
The first day we arrived at Crooked Stick we were notified that there wasn't going to be a practice round for any of the teams. Being a member of Crooked Stick, I felt that this didn't hold us back at all. I took the team out on the course and we walked hole by hole and I described where the best places to be were, and the places to avoid. This allowed us to create a mental game plan and realize the best way to play against the course and score well. Even though I belong to Crooked Stick, I can honestly say it was the hardest course we've played all year. Having had a 3 hour frost delay and shortening the tournament to 36 holes over two days, our team held our heads up high. The night before the first round, my parents hosted an Easter dinner at my home, which was nice seeing as I am one of the two out of state players on the team. We were able to watch the end of the masters and spend time with our families and teammates.
The tournament was monitored with live scoring on Golfstat. We started off strong against some of the top teams in the nation. In and out of first place throughout the day, we ended up in second place. We were pleased, but we knew that scores were tight and we needed to keep up the hard work. First days scores included an even par round from my teammate Seul Ki Park, a 75 by Stephanie Mory, I was able to contribute a 76, and Kristi Kallergis rounded it out with an 81. These scores were among the top 15 places in the tournament. The round consisted of almost every weather we could've imagined. We went through periods of strong winds, flurries, snow, sun, and a brief period of rain. Again, we felt like we were in a good position.
The second day came when we woke up to find out that there was another frost delay and the shot gun start had changed from 9:30 to 11:00. I felt like this gave us more time to prepare mentally as a team as we waited in the hotel lounge. The second day was a little warmer than the first, but again, not your desired golf weather. It came down to every last stroke and we fought til the end. After we found out that we got third place and beat Oregon by a stroke, I had to laugh because I made a 30 footer on my last hole not knowing the position it would leave us in. After I finished my round my teammates and I ran over to the 18th green, to watch our teammate Seul Ki Park, who was in the lead going into the last hole, finish with a par putt. It was so exciting not just for our team, but watching Seul Ki win such a prestigious tournament. We were happy about our finish and feel that we've worked hard all year and it's starting to pay off. This tournament gave us an enormous amount of confidence having big tens only two weeks away. We will be competing in the Ohio State tournament this weekend, and the scores will be again monitored on Golfstat.com. We've come to realize our potential, and having been out of first place by only six strokes we know we can compete with some of the best teams in the country.