Senior Samantha Sloan and the Illini will compete at the Big Ten Championships this weekend in French Lick.
April 26, 2012
FRENCH LICK, Ind. - The Illinois women's golf team will travel to French Lick, Ind., for the 2012 Big Ten Championships on April 27-29. The event will be held at a neutral site at the par-72, 6,156-yard Donald Ross Golf Course of French Lick. The tournament will use a 54-hole format, featuring 18 holes on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with each day teeing off at 9 a.m. ET.
All 12 Big Ten teams will be participating in the event, which includes four teams in the top 50 of the latest Golfweek team rankings and eight teams in the top 75. No. 58 Illinois will compete against No. 19 Ohio State, No. 23 Michigan State, No. 33 Purdue, No. 40 Northwestern, No. 57 Michigan, No. 70 Nebraska, No. 73 Wisconsin, No. 76 Indiana, No. 83 Minnesota, No. 84 Penn State, and No. 87 Iowa.
Rather than the play five, count four format of the regular season tournaments, the Big Ten Championships will be played with a play six, count four format. Seniors Hailey Koschmann, Nora Lucas, and Katelin Dilger, along with sophomore Ember Schuldt, will travel to French Lick after competing in all five tournaments in the spring. Senior Samantha Sloan and freshman Michelle Mayer will also be making the trip.
The Illini played this course during the fall season, as it was the site of the Lady Northern Invitational. Eight Big Ten schools joined Illinois at the event, where they placed seventh out of 12 teams. Sloan and Schuldt led the Orange and Blue individually, carding a 230 (+17) to finish in a tie for 30th place.
"We talked about the upcoming course at French Lick and what the keys are to being successful there," Slone said. "We'll practice those particular areas in the coming days so everyone is ready to go, such as positioning in relation to the hole. In some instances, that might mean its better to miss the green on the correct side of the hole than to be on the green but on the incorrect side of the hole. We look at playing the hole backwards, starting at the hole."
The Illini concluded their regular season on April 22, taking 11th place at the Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational. Dilger led Illinois, improving her score each round and ending the tournament with a 240 (+24).
"We addressed the fact that it was a disappointing performance last week at Ohio State, but everybody has a bad tournament, whether it be a team or an individual in any given sport," head coach Renee Slone said. "The mark of a champion is how they respond to a setback. You can take one of two paths, and it's up to each of them to decide how they want to address this."
In 2011-12, Illinois twice set the team school record for a 54-hole tournament total, won a team title to start off the spring, and recorded seven top-five team finishes. The Illini also turned in the top two individual tournament and team single round performances in school history and had three Big Ten Golfers of the Week.
Illinois shattered the school's 54-hole tournament record by 22 strokes after shooting an 853 (-11) to win the Westbrook Spring Invitational, where they also notched the top two single rounds in program history with a 282 (-6) and 283 (-5). The Illini originally set the school record at the first tournament of the fall with an 875 (+11) at the Ptarmigan Ram Classic. Lucas broke the school's individual 54-hole tournament record with career-best 205 (-11) to earn medalist honors at the Westbrook Invite, while Koschmann turned in the second-best total with a career-low 210 (-6).
"We can focus on all of the positives that have taken place this season, like the fact that we set the school record twice, as we head into Big Tens rather than just the immediate past," Slone said. "We're just trying to keep everyone big picture focused. We talked about what everyone learned over the weekend because you can always learn something from every single tournament."
Last year at the Big Ten Championships, Illinois finished ninth out of 11 teams after posting a 72-hole total of 1,237, the third lowest 72-hole tournament total in program history. Schuldt carded a 310 (+22) to finish in a tie for 32nd.
For coverage of the Illinois women's golf team at the 2012 Big Ten Championships, visit fightingillini.com for a full recap at the end of each day's action. Fans can also follow the action live by going to golfstat.com. The Big Ten Network will televise a tape-delayed broadcast of the final round on May 13 at 10 a.m. CT.