The women’s golf team has been struggling with illnesses all season, and that continued at the Powerade Cougar Classic.
Junior Alix Kong shot a 1-over-par 217 over three rounds to lead the Hoosiers, but the squad tied for 19th at the Powerade Cougar Classic on Tuesday in Charleston, South Carolina.
IU finished with a season-low score of 897(+33) and finished 59 strokes behind tournament-winner North Carolina. The 21-team tournament was hosted by the College of Charleston at Yeamans Hall Club.
Michigan finished sixth at 863(-1) to lead the five Big Ten teams at the tournament, which, outside of IU, included Maryland, Penn State and Wisconsin.
Kong shot her best round of the tournament on day one when she posted a 1-under-par 71 and closed out the tournament with a 72(E). Senior Ana Sanjuan also shot a 72(E) in the final round to post a three-round score of 220(+4).
The team was without sophomore Erin Harper, the Hoosiers’ top returning player from last season, for the second consecutive tournament, and IU Coach Clint Wallman said two other players were not feeling their best.
Despite the Hoosiers shooting their best team score of the season, Wallman said the team didn’t finish where they wanted in the standings.
“Things weren’t lining up in our favor from an injury and illness standpoint, and we just didn’t get consistent execution from our players,” he said. “Ana and Alix put in pretty good efforts, Elisa played pretty good, but we just didn’t quite get a fourth score that we needed, and that proved detrimental to us.”
Illnesses weren’t an excuse for Wallman, though, as he said teams play without top players frequently and, the team will need to reflect on their performance and go from there.
Kong tied for 27th in the individual standings and said she felt really good about her performance.
“I just stayed patient the whole way,” Kong said. “The golf course played pretty tough for me this week, but I didn’t make any rash decisions. I was able to stick to my gameplan and just play every hole as it came.”
The 21-team field was the largest tournament the Hoosiers have played in this season, and there were several NCAA-regional-qualifying teams from last season.
Sanjuan said the team had to play at a higher level to compete in this tournament, and the team did not meet that level of play this week.
“I think it was a challenge because it makes you see where you are at, since there are other people going to nationals,” Sanjuan said. “So it’s good to see where you are at and what you have to do to be at that level.”
Kong said she enjoyed the higher level of competition and hoped to face more fields like this one, because the higher level of play helps her learn from other players and pushes her to improve her game.
The last tournament of the Hoosiers’ fall season will be played Oct. 23-25 at the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown hosted by UNLV.
Sanjuan said she has played the UNLV course before and is confident in her game heading into the tournament, but she said she knew she had improvements to make to be prepared for the tournament.
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