Pimploy Thirati completes her first fall as a regular in the Illini line-up
Oct. 24, 2012
Champaign, Ill. - llinois women's golf has made it to NCAA Regionals each of the past two years and the Illini's case for a third straight could it a major boost with a solid finish this weekend.
Illinois participates in the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invite at the University Texas Golf Course in Austin, Texas. The field is loaded with top teams, including seven who are ranked and four more that are receiving votes in the Golf World/Nike Coaches poll.
The field at the par-71 Bermuda grass course features No. 2 Florida, No. 3 Arizona State, No. 6 Alabama, No. 8 Auburn, No. 10 UCLA, No. 19 Texas and No. 20 Pepperdine along with Arkansas, Denver, Illinois and UNLV who are receiving votes. Kent State, New Mexico, TCU and Tulsa round out the 15-team field.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for us to play in a field of this caliber," Illinois head coach Renee Slone said. "We're certainly looking forward to it."
Illinois' best finish of the four tournaments thus far this season has been a third at the Wolverine Invitational. Slone hopes her team can end the fall on a positive note.
"We have made some steady progress throughout the fall," Slone said. "This will be an opportunity to kind of put everything we've been working on so far together and then enable us as to go into the offseason and assess where each player is individually."
Redshirt sophomore Samantha Postillion transferred in from Texas and has been bringing the team up to speed on the nature of the course. Joining Postillion on the trip again will be sophomore Jacqueline Calamaro, freshman Michelle Mayer, junior Ember Schuldt and sophomore Pimploy Thirati.
Slone reports that the team has been focusing on play from 120 yards and in. In Sunday's 18-hole competition from that distance, Postillion shot -7 and Calamaro -4.
"We've been focusing the last week-and--a-half on that distance, working on wedge play, pitching and minimizing mistakes around the green. Throughout the year we've had one solid round or two solid rounds from an individual. I'm hoping to see some good solid rounds from everybody across the board in Texas."
The 54-hole event includes 18 holes each day from Oct. 28-30. Fans can follow live scoring at golfstatresults.com .