After watching two players finish in the top 10 and the team place third at the Michigan State Mary Fossum Invitational, IU Coach Clint Wallman said the team was heading in the right direction.
The Hoosiers will look to keep that momentum going in their third tournament of the season at the Powerade Cougar Classic on Sunday at Yeamans Hall Club in Charleston, South Carolina.
College of Charleston will be the host of the 21-team tournament that will last from Sunday to Tuesday.
IU is one of five Big Ten teams in the field alongside Maryland, Michigan, Penn State and Wisconsin.
Two-time defending tournament champion Arkansas will also be in attendance.
Sophomore Erin Harper, the Hoosiers’ top returning player from last season, will miss her second consecutive tournament due to illness.
The Hoosiers hope to replicate the success they had last weekend.
Wallman said the Hoosiers’ finish there showed the team’s depth.
“There are 10 people on the team, so whether someone is injured or not playing well or sick, it’s a collective effort,” he said.
“So we are trying not to focus too much on Erin being sick. We want her to get better, but we are trying to focus on what we need to do to get ourselves ready moving forward.”
Senior Ana Sanjuan and junior Alix Kong have led the way for IU this season.
Both players have finished 11th or higher individually in the first two tournaments of the season, and Sanjuan said she has focused on playing her best golf and has not thought about where she might finish in the standings.
“I never have result goals because I don’t want to think about the final score,” Sanjuan said. “So I just have strategies to play well, and that’s what I do. I follow my game plan, and that’s my main goal because I know if I follow my game plan I’m going to play well.”
Kong said with a key player sitting out, there was a little more pressure on IU’s top players. However, it isn’t a huge problem.
“I think that we all have good team camaraderie, and Ana and I will do our best,” Kong said.
“We have a good team. It’s not like it’s the end of the world that some people are home.”
Wallman said Sanjuan and Kong are real competitors and having them perform so well gives the team more room to work with on the team scorecard.
IU placed eighth out of 20 teams in the Cougar Classic last season as Harper led the Hoosiers and Sanjuan struggled.
Despite her struggles a year ago, Sanjuan said she is playing a lot better this season and is confident in her game.
Kong also struggled with the course two seasons ago in her college debut, but she said she expects to finish higher this time around.
“Considering how I’m playing, I want to finish in the top 10 again,” she said. “This is the hardest field out of all the tournaments we are going to be playing in the fall so it is definitely going to be a challenge. I like the course, and I’m playing well, so we will see what happens.”
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IU will look to build momentum as it heads to the final stretch of the season.
The No. 6 Hoosiers will face No. 4 Texas and No. 19 Florida in a two day meet in Austin, the site of this year’s National Championships.
IU has defeated both Texas and Florida for three straight seasons.