The IU women’s golf team hasn’t played a competitive round since October, but that doesn’t mean the Hoosiers will be rusty this weekend when they return to action.
The team’s two training trips to Arizona in the past month have it ready to go for the Westbrook Spring Invitational at Westbrook Village Golf Club in Peoria, Arizona. The first two rounds will be played Sunday, and the final round is Monday.
The tournament will have a field of 13 teams, including Big Ten foes Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio State and tournament host Wisconsin. The Hoosiers finished 12th of 15 teams at the same tournament last season.
With both the training trips and unusually warm weather allowing the Hoosiers to play plenty of golf before their first tournament, IU Coach Clint Wallman said he thinks the team is in a good position to go out and compete.
“We are developmentally much further along at this point of the year than we have been in years past,” Wallman said. “Overall I feel very good. We’ve got easily triple the amount of rounds that we’ve ever had entering our first event of the year.”
Wallman said the team is closer to being in game shape before the first tournament than it has been in years past and the players have been tweaking smaller parts of their games instead of trying to knock the rust off from a long break.
Senior Ana Sanjuan said the extra practice has her feeling relaxed and prepared for the tournament ahead.
“I worked a lot on my swing this past month so now I’m very confident with it,” Sanjuan said. “With my putting too, I made so many putts in practice so it gives me a lot of confidence for the tournaments.”
Illnesses plagued the team during the fall, with sophomore Erin Harper missing multiple tournaments.
The Hoosiers will have to play another tournament without one of their top players because junior Alix Kong will not travel with the team due to health issues. Kong was second on the team with a fall average score of 73.45 per round.
Wallman said the Hoosiers are familiar with the Westbrook course from past years and said he thinks the Hoosiers have the opportunity to shoot low scores this weekend.
“It’s a course definitely that you can score on but you have to be converting when you get down to the red zone, you just have to make the putts,” Wallman said. “It’s definitely going to reward good iron play. If you get the ball in good proximity, you can shoot some numbers out here.”
Harper finished tied for third place among individuals at the Westbrook Spring Invitational last season as she led the Hoosiers with a 4-under-par 212 over three rounds.
In order to shoot those low scores, Wallman said the team focused on putting and iron play in the week before the tournament.
The Hoosiers are leaving for the tournament a day early to play a practice round Friday at Longbow Golf Club, the site of their second tournament of the season, the Clover Cup.
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