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Women’s golf ends fall season with its best finish

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Then-sophomore Erin Harper, now a junior, putts during the first round of the IU Invitational at the IU Golf Course in April. Harper finished 34-over-par after three rounds at the NCAA Championships in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Josh Eastern Buy Photos

The IU women's golf team was still looking for a top-five finish entering the Ladies Fall Intercollegiate Invitational at the Atlanta Athletic Club Highlands Course in John's Creek, Georgia, the Hoosiers' final tournament of the fall season.

Before Oct. 28, the fall season was one full of sixth- and seventh-place finishes, with this tournament being the team’s last chance at cracking the top five in a tournament setting before the winter break. 

The Hoosiers were able to pull it off, finishing in fifth place with a team score of 30-over-par. The score of this tournament reflected only a two-round score, with day three of play on Sunday being cancelled due to high wind and weather.

Having hosted numerous PGA tournaments in the past, the AAC Highlands Course is regarded as one of the most difficult courses in the nation. The results exemplified the challenges presented by the course, as no IU players finished the tournament under par.

“The Atlanta Athletic Club is a championship golf course, it’s hard,” Coach Clint Wallman said. “Our game plan was to be very conservative and very patient and try to hit a lot of greens so that they would not have to chip and putt on these really hard greens.”

The Hoosiers were led by the play of senior Alix Kong, who — due to injury — was taking part in her first tournament of the season. Kong finished in a tie for third with a two-day score of 3-over-par. 

“I didn’t really know what to expect coming in,” Kong said. “I’ve worked really hard to rehab myself and to practice a lot. I was able to use my experience from the past three years and stay calm on the course.”

For the first time this season, the Hoosiers had three golfers finish in the top 20. Along with Kong, freshman Priscilla Schmid had her best collegiate finish by tying for sixth place, while junior Erin Harper finished in a tie for 19th, marking her second top-20 finish of the fall season.

“All of the players that traveled are potential number one players,” Wallman said. “If you look at our tee sheets, it’s never the same person playing one, two or three. They’re that good. Any one of them at any time can post some serious numbers. It’s just a matter of getting them on a roll.”

The Hoosiers now have just under three months away from tournament play before heading to Peoria, Arizona, for the Westbrook Invitational. The team will look to build off of its best finish and continue the momentum in late-February, but still has many things they hope to improve on during the break.

“I think the one thing we have to improve on is our consistency,” Wallman said. "If we can just keep that high level going, and have your foot on the gas all the time, I think it’s going to be really good.”

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