Junior Raquel Hopton shot the lowest round of the fall, a 67, in the first round of the Challenge at Onion Creek.
Nov. 20, 2009
Champaign, Ill. - The Illinois women's golf team continued to grow and gain experience in the 2009 fall season with a young team consisting of one junior, six sophomores, and one freshman. The trio of junior Raquel Hopton, and sophomores Kaitlyn Wampler and Samantha Sloan, the team leaders in stroke average, traveled to every tournament in the fall, with Hailey Koschmann coming to all but one.
The Fighting Illini started the fall season off at the Ron Moore Women's Collegiate in Denver, Colo., where they finished 5th out of 13 teams. Wampler placed in the top 10, finishing in a tie for 7th, to lead to Illini. Sloan and Koschmann also finished in the top 25, placing 23rd and 25th, respectively.
The Lady Northern, held this year at the University Ridge Course in Madison, Wis., and commonly referred to as the Big Ten Preview as it is always played at the course that will host the Big Ten Championships in April, provided some valuable practice and experience for the conference tournament. Wampler again paced the Orange and Blue, tying for 23rd.
The next tournament Illinois participated in was the Windy City Collegiate Classic. The Orange and Blue finished 12th of 15 teams, with Koschmann (18th) leading the way for the Illini.
The Fighting Illini had their best finish of the fall at the Hawkeye Women's Invitational, hosted by Iowa, placing second of 13 teams. Hopton and Wampler had 54-hole scores of 226 to tie for second individually. For Wampler it was her second top-10 finish of the fall and the third tournament pacing the Illini. Illinois also had three others place in the top 30, with Katelyn Dilger making her season debut and tying for 15th, Koschmann finishing in a tie for 19th, and Sloan tying for 30th.
Illinois wrapped up its fall season at the Challenge at Onion Creek in Austin, Texas, with a 54-hole total of 883, the lowest of the fall, and a 17th-place finish. Hopton got the Illini off with a strong start, shooting a first round 67 to tie the second-lowest single round in school history. The Valparaiso, Ind., native finished in a tie for 32nd, with her 54-hole total of 218 ranked as the team's low individual tournament of the fall.
"We made some big steps forward, especially on the mental side," head coach Renee Slone said. "We had our moments of brilliance, which is great. Now it is just getting to where we are consistent. Overall it was good. There's a lot of work to do be done, and they're motivated."