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IU heads to Arizona for spring season

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Then-senior Ana Sanjuan tees off during the first round of the April 2017 IU Invitational at IU Golf Course. The IU women's golf team placed seventh at the Coeur d’Alene Resort Collegiate Invitational in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, on Sept. 26, 2017. Josh Eastern Buy Photos

Just under three months ago, IU women’s golf finished their fourth and final tournament of the fall.

In each of those tournaments the Hoosiers finished in the top 10, which is the first time since 2012 that the team had a fall season with such results. 

What makes the most recent fall season so impressive for IU might not be the results, but instead the success given the injuries the team faced. 

Three of IU’s top four golfers from the fall — freshman Mary Parsons, senior Alix Kong and freshman Priscilla Schmid — missed a tournament at some point. 

Following the long winter break, IU will be back on the course Sunday for the Westbrook Invitational in Peoria, Arizona. This will be the first time this year the team will have all three of the aforementioned golfers in the lineup together.

“I’m really excited because our qualifying scores have been really good and this is going to be a different lineup,” IU Coach Clint Wallman said. “We’re going to have our strongest players out there and it’ll be really good to see how they do.”

The fall season ended with a fifth-place finish at the Ladies Fall Intercollegiate in Atlanta. 

That was the first tournament of the season for Kong, but that did not keep her from finishing in a tie for third place and earning Big Ten Golfer of the Week honors. 

Schmid is one of three freshman on the team, and her best finish in her first season was tied-sixth at Ladies Fall Intercollegiate. Despite the number of underclassmen on the team, Schmid feels they have adjusted in a good way.

“We support each other a lot and that helps,” Schmid said. “The fact that we want to keep playing and be able to shoot very well makes it a lot easier.”

Due to construction at the IU Golf Course and weather conditions, it has been difficult for the team to practice during the winter season. 

In an attempt to adapt, the team has been using TrackMan to simulate tournament courses to prepare themselves as best as possible. 

“When you take a few months off you lose your course sense — those things that you inherently do where you’re in midseason form versus early season,” Wallman said. “The biggest thing is understanding the state of your game and making whatever gameplan adjustments you need to make to support that.”

Although the event is in Arizona, the Wisconsin Badgers will be the host school. Along with Wisconsin, IU will also be facing four other teams from the Big Ten, including Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and Ohio State.

The 15-team field will play two rounds Sunday before playing the final round Monday at the Westbrook Village Golf Club Vistas Course.

“I like the golf course, I think it’s a very generous golf course in terms of getting a good start,” Wallman said. “It’s not too penal. However, if you put the ball on the wrong side of the hole you’re going to pay for it.”

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