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Pressurized but entertaining practice prepares IU women’s golf for match play



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Members of the IU women's golf team pose for a photo Sept. 13 at the Pfau Golf Course. The team played in a tournament where international players competed against U.S.-born players in a match play. Photo courtesy of IU Athletics Buy Photos

As IU students prepare for another warm weekend in Bloomington, the women’s golf team will prepare for yet another tournament.

For the third week in a row, IU will be in action. This time, five team players and two individual players will head northwest to Madison, Wisconsin, to take part in the East-West Match Play Challenge. The tournament will tee off Sunday and finish up Tuesday.

IU is looking to improve after its seventh place finish in the first tournament in New Mexico. Junior Priscilla Schmid led the way placing second overall by shooting a collegiate best seven-under-par through three rounds. 

The event will feature something the Hoosiers have not taken part in yet this season: match play. Sunday, each school will participate in two rounds of the usual stroke play to determine match-ups for Monday and Tuesday.

To prepare for the new style of scoring, IU head coach Clint Wallman simulated the upcoming tournament in a different way.

Last Friday at the Pfau Golf Course, Wallman set up the IU form of Solheim Cup, which a the match play tournament between the best female golfers in the United States and the best in Europe. The professional tournament occurred concurrently with the Hoosier version, and with the tournament coming up in Madison, the timing could not have been better.

“We have our first match play coming up with Wisconsin,” Wallman said. “We need to be prepared for that, so it was just a different way of preparation that I think the golfers enjoyed more.”

Team Europe and Team U.S.A. were not the only ones that were on the course for the action. Fans of the squad and the IU color guard showed up in support which Wallman said created higher stakes for the players.

“Our goal was to create a Ryder Cup feel where these girls were playing in front of people with more pressure on them,” Wallman said.

Above all, Wallman wanted the golfers to experience a particular type of practice, one where players could celebrate their made putts and maybe even boast a little to the opposing team when it was all wrapped up.

“It’s a very, very fun event," Wallman said. "They really get into it. It was a legit event and I already have girls talking to me today about next year’s Ryder cup and what we can do to make it even better.”

The team will take off for Madison on Friday to scout the course out before Sunday. The line up of competing golfers will be released Saturday on Twitter.

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