Indiana Daily Student

Indiana women’s golf to take on challenging field in VyStar Gators Invitational

<p>Then-senior Angela Aung swings her golf club April 4, 2021, during the Indiana Spring Challenge at Covered Bridge Golf Club. Indiana will play in the Vystar Gators Invitational this weekend in Gainesville, Florida. </p>

Then-senior Angela Aung swings her golf club April 4, 2021, during the Indiana Spring Challenge at Covered Bridge Golf Club. Indiana will play in the Vystar Gators Invitational this weekend in Gainesville, Florida.

Indiana women’s golf is back on the course this weekend in Gainesville, Florida, for the VyStar Gators Invitational. They will play 54 holes over two days against a field of 14 other teams. 

Five Hoosiers are expected to compete in the event. Seniors Mary Parsons and Alexis Miestowski, junior Valerie Clancy, and freshmen Aine Donegan and Margaret Fernandez will be the five to take the course.

Indiana’s competition will be the toughest of its season thus far. Thirteen of the Hoosiers’ 14 opponents rank inside the top-60 of Golfstat’s most recent rankings. These teams are highlighted by defending NCAA champions and currently No. 25-ranked University of Mississippi, defending runner-ups and current No. 2-ranked Oklahoma State University, and host team current No. 7-ranked University of Florida.

The Hoosiers will also see some familiar faces over the weekend. Big Ten opponents Michigan, Michigan State and Maryland will all be vying to win the event’s 50th edition. 

The University of Central Florida, Mississippi State University, East Tennessee State University, University of Denver, University of Tennessee, North Carolina State University, Campbell University and Florida International University round out the rest of the field.

Indiana begins play Saturday paired with Maryland and FIU. The team will start on hole 15 in a shotgun format, with all players and teams starting simultaneously from different holes. Pairings will tee off at 8:30 a.m.

Indiana has the opportunity to compete with the best of the best before heading into the bulk of its spring schedule. Its best 54-hole finish this season was its 890, 26-over score achieved at the Illini Invitational, which concluded its fall season. Having only placed 15th then, Indiana now faces a much more formidable field. The Hoosiers will have to surpass their score from the Illini Invitational if they hope to be crowned champions this weekend. 

Donegan will continue to be the key for Indiana, as she looks to continue her stellar season. The freshman averages 72.38 scores on her strokes, an average good for 63rd in the country and 11th among all freshmen, according to Golfstat. Her elite play and progression will be significant for the Hoosiers’ chances to compete as the season moves forward.

The 50th edition of the VyStar Gators Invitational will also celebrate the 50th year of women’s athletics and Title IX at UF, according to a UF press release. The event started in 1973 and was held twice in the inaugural year. The hosting Gators have won the event six consecutive times dating back to 2015 and 24 times overall. Michigan State’s victory in 2010 is the sole Big Ten victory at the event, and Indiana will look to change that this weekend.

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