Senior Seul Ki Park receives her individual second-place trophy from head coach Renee Slone after Illinois won the 2008 Illini Spring Classic.
May 7, 2008
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The University of Illinois women's golf team notched two tournament victories during the spring season for the first time since 2003 and senior Seul Ki Park earned second-team All-Big Ten honors, the first Illini to do so since 1995, to highlight the 2008 season. The Orange and Blue began the spring with four straight top-five finishes and each golfer improved on their stroke average from last season. Each golfer also tallied a career-low single round this season, including Park's school record 66 at the Shootout at The Legends in the fall.
Illinois got off to a quick start after a long winter layoff with a victory at its first spring tournament, the Gainesville Shootout III. The Orange and Blue kicked off the spring with its first tournament victory since 2006, finishing two strokes ahead of the 15-team field with a 54-hole total of 916. Freshman Raquel Hopton led the Illini with a career-best third-place finish and a career-low 54-hole total of 221. Hopton also tallied a career-low 70 in the second round of the event.
The Illini had little time to rest after their victory in Florida as they competed in the Samford Intercollegiate just two days later. The Illini's momentum carried over into the tournament in Alabama as the Orange and Blue fired a school-tying record 291 in the second round at Samford. Park carded the ninth-lowest 54-hole total (220) in school history and tied for third place individually to lead the Illini to a tie for fourth place in the 15-team field. Senior Kristine Cook tallied a season-best sixth-place finish thanks in part to a career-low 69 in the second round of the tournament.
The Orange and Blue notched their second tournament victory of the season at the Illini Spring Classic, the team's lone home event. The Illini led the 15-team field after battling the elements on day one and then carded a final round 294, the fourth-lowest round in school history, to seal their 11th Spring Classic victory. Individually, three Illini tallied top-five finishes with Park leading the way in second place followed by a career-best tie for third from senior Stephanie Mory and a tie for fifth from Hopton.
Three days after its Spring Classic victory, Illinois took third at the Indiana Invitational for the second straight year thanks to the second-lowest 54-hole total (898) in school history. The Illini finished ahead of four top-50 teams and six Big Ten conference foes in the 15-team field. Mory led the Orange and Blue, finishing 10th with a 54-hole total of 221. She also tied her career-low single round score with a 71 in the final round. Junior Nancy Featherstone competed as an individual and tallied a career-best 54-hole total of 223 to tie her career-best finish (T-13th). The Franklin, Ill., native also fired a career-low 71 in the opening round.
Illinois struggled to close the season strong, finishing 10th at the Lady Buckeye Invitational, hosted by Ohio State, and 11th at the Big Ten Championship, hosted by Penn State. Park led the Illini at the conference tournament, tying for 16th, and was named second-team All-Big Ten, while Mory earned the sportsmanship award for Illinois.
Park's 75.41 season stroke average ranks as the third-lowest single-season average in school history, while her 77.79 career average is good for third on the all-time list. Mory's 79.33 career average ranks eighth on the list.
At the team banquet, Park earned the MVP Award, Mory won the Attitude Award and senior captain Kristin Kallergis took home the Leadership Award.