For the 28th time in history, and the first time since 2011, the Bettie Lou Evans Invitational will be back in Lexington, Kentucky.
As the IU women's golf team heads south for the three-day, three-round tournament, IU Coach Clint Wallman believes the regional rivalry between IU and Kentucky will provide even more motivation for his group heading into play.
“Any time that you’re playing a big school, especially in a regional situation, you always want to do your best," Wallman said.
In a field of 16 schools at Wildcat Course, the Hoosiers will be up against Big Ten Conference rivals Illinois, Penn State and Wisconsin, and in-state rivals Ball State and Notre Dame, in addition to Kentucky.
“Knowing that we have those in-state rivals and a bunch of other schools to compete with pushes us to try our best," freshman Mary Parsons said. "We have to keep in mind that we don’t want to put too much pressure on ourselves because that would negatively harm us. We just have to keep pushing for the positive shots and keep being positive out on the course."
After a sixth-place finish at the Ptarmigan Ram Classic and a seventh-place finish at the Couer d'Alene Resort Invitational, the Hoosiers will look to avoid small mistakes that make a big difference in the long run.
“The past couple tournaments, I’ve just had some big numbers on holes, and that’s really hurt me,” sophomore Emma Fisher said. “If I can really just try to eliminate the shots that hurt me and try to play shots to the highest percentage, I think that will shave at least two or three strokes off my game.”
Improving their spot on the leaderboard will not come easy for the Hoosiers this weekend. With rain in the forecast, combined with the Kentucky bluegrass, there will be challenges the team has not yet had to face this season.
“Whenever I’m down there, there’s always wetter weather, so I think that plays in with a lot of how the club gets through the grass,” Fisher said. “It sticks a little more, so I’m gonna have to pay a little closer attention to that.”
This weekend, the team will be sending eight golfers, three more than it sent for the first two tournaments. This opens up the opportunity for the underclassmen to gain more experience while also giving the upperclassmen a chance to improve their game.
“We’ve got some really good play out of the girls, and what’s even more exciting is we have big room to grow,” Wallman said. “I think there’s a lot of upside to this team, and just getting everyone on the same course, I think it’s going to be great.”