After a second-place finish at the Lady Buckeye Invitational last weekend, IU will now gear up for the Big Ten Championships in Indianapolis this weekend.
The Hoosiers head into the Big Ten Championship seeded seventh and have a chance at an NCAA Tournament bid with a good showing this weekend. IU Coach Clint Wallman and the team are excited to get going at The Fort Golf Course on Friday morning.
“Absolutely exciting times, Big Tens are always exciting,” Wallman said. “This year probably a little more exciting because the girls are playing really well and are very confident heading into it.”
The team is coming off two straight second-place finishes at Briar’s Creek back in March at the aforementioned Lady Buckeye Invitational. That success, however, doesn’t come without good chemistry, sophomore Alix Kong said.
“I think our team chemistry plays a very pivotal role in our success,” Kong said. “The support that we give each other is the foundation for our success, and I think it’s important that we take this and move forward because it has really helped us this spring.”
Coach Wallman echoed many of the same thoughts as the sophomore golfer, and mentioned the specific importance of chemistry in women’s sports.
“They have great chemistry number one, and especially in women’s sports, that’s a huge thing,” Wallman said. “We saw it with Coach (Tom) Crean’s basketball team, they had great chemistry together and that allowed them to perform at a really high level, and we have a similar chemistry makeup.”
Part of that makeup is senior Camille Chevalier, who is coming off of an individual title last weekend in Columbus, Ohio, and was the recipient of her first Big Ten Player of the Week this week.
“It’s the old phrase, ‘A rising tide lifts all ships,’” Wallman said. “That’s very much what she has done. She’s a tireless worker, and I don’t expect anything different from her. She’s playing well and playing with a lot of confidence.”
As a teammate, Kong said she didn’t want to lie and even admitted Chevalier practices more than anyone on the team.
“Her ability to focus and compartmentalize on the golf course,” Kong said. “She manages herself very well. She’s our unspoken team captain this year, and I think her hard work and determination have gotten her very far.”
With the Big Ten Championships this weekend, the team is familiar with The Fort Golf Course, and Wallman said it suits this team’s game very well.
“We played there last year and it fits fine,” said Wallman. “We have a lot of girls that hit it a long ways so that helps. This golf course suits us really well and I think it’s better than what we saw at Ohio State.”
Kong said she doesn’t want the team to change its game plan heading in but they should have higher expectations this weekend.
“Obviously my expectations are a bit higher going into Big Tens since we’ve had some pretty good last few tournaments,” Kong said. “We’re just going to approach it like any other tournament and control the things that we can control. We have a good team, so I’m really excited.”
Coach Wallman has said the three most important words in golf are “what’s my target,” and right now that target is on the Big Ten Championships this weekend.
“It’s just one of those things, success breeds confidence and confidence breeds success,” Wallman said. “I know that they’re excited to play and that’s two-thirds of the battle right there.”