Junior Ember Schuldt currently ranks third all-time at Illinois with a career 76.92 stroke average.
June 13, 2013
Champaign, Ill. – The Fighting Illini women’s golf team underwent a rebuilding year in 2012-13, returning just one primary starter from the previous season, while two of the Illini’s top three scorers saw their first action for the Orange and Blue in 2012-13.
Illinois was led by junior Ember Schuldt, who averaged a team-best 76.90 over 10 tournaments as the lone returning starter from the stacked 2011-12 squad. Through three solid seasons with the Fighting Illini, Schuldt has totaled a 76.92 career stroke average, which ranks third all-time at Illinois.
Sophomores Samantha Postillion and Pimploy Thirati hit the links for the first time in Sept., 2012, and provided a much-needed recharge for Illinois, after graduating four strong seniors. Postillion paced the Illini in the fall, averaging a team-best 76.73, then finished the year right behind Schuldt with a 77.06 season average, while finishing first on the team in six of 11 tournaments. Thirati closed out the fall strong, shooting her first under-par round on the final day of the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invite to lead the Illini with a personal-best 225.
The Illini had their best finish of the season on Sept. 22-23 at the Wolverine Invitational, placing third in the field of 14. Illinois’ 933 on the par-71 course was just three strokes off the tournament lead. Schuldt and Michelle Mayer tied for sixth individually with a 232, while Postillion was a stroke behind in 12th.
Senior Crystal Smith earned herself a spot in the starting lineup early in the spring, after shooting a team-best 225 at the Westbrook Spring Invitational while competing as an individual. She cut 10 strokes off her previous personal-best, hitting par in the first round for the first time in her career, and took home her first-ever top-20 individual finish.
The Orange and Blue opened spring competition with a match play victory over Illinois State, marking their fifth-straight Illinois Challenge title with a score of 6-3. Illinois then shot its best team round of the season on the final day of the Westbrook Spring Invite, hitting a 295 and totaling a then-season-best 914. Illinois topped that at the Marsh Landing Invitational on April 8-9, turning in a 912 with the help of the two best individual scores of the season, a 219 (+3) by Postillion and 220 (+4) by Schuldt, who both placed in the top 20.
Nearly half the team was honored for their work in the classroom, as Jacqueline Calamaro, Michelle Mayer and Crystal Smith all garnered Academic All-Big Ten honors this spring. Additionally, senior Kaitlyn Wampler took home the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.