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Iowa women’s golf looks to keep its momentum

BY MAGGIE CUNNINGHAM | MARCH 28, 2011 7:20 AM

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An exciting third-place finish at the Jackrabbit Invitational on March 15 has the Iowa women’s golf team eager to begin play at the Anteater Invitational today.

“I think the last round of the Jackrabbit was a great way to end a tournament,” junior Chelsea Harris said. “And we are all excited to see how that confidence and momentum will help us [today].”

The 54-hole tournament will be held at the par 71 Dove Canyon Country Club in Dove Canyon, Calif.; it is hosted by the University of California-Irvine. At 10:30 a.m. today, 12 teams will begin the first round on the 5,980-yard course. After a long day of 36 holes, the third and final rounds will be held Tuesday.

“We are really excited to go out to California and play at Dove Canyon,” head coach Kelly Crawford told hawkeyesports.com. “The girls played well in our last tournament, and we have had some really good practices this week. It will be nice for me to return to UC-Irvine as well, as I have very fond memories of my time there.”

Iowa head coach Kelly Crawford came to the Hawkeyes after serving as the UC-Irvine’s first-ever women’s golf head coach for six years.

In her tenure, Crawford led her team to three conference championships and three appearances in the West Regional of the NCAA Division-I women’s golf championship. In 2005, her team took 18th in the NCAA tourney. She was also named Big West Conference Coach of the Year in 2002 and 2006.

Although Crawford knows the area, she will not be able give additional assistance to the Hawkeyes, who have never played in this tournament before. None of Crawford’s squads at UC Irvine played on this course.

Seniors Laura Cilek and Lauren Forbes, junior Harris, and sophomores Kristi Cardwell and Gigi DiGrazia will make up Iowa’s scorecard. Freshman Woojay Choi will compete as an individual.

The defending Anteater Invitational champion in the individual category, Idaho’s Kayla Mortellaro, will compete again. Last year, she finished first with a low score of 214, and she is the seventh-ranked amateur in the world.

“It’s competitive because most of the teams here play year-round, so their games are going to be sharp,” Laura Cilek said. “At the Jackrabbit, it was the first tournament back on grass for most teams.”

After kicking off the spring season with a disappointing performance at the Kiawah Island Classic, it’s essential for the Hawkeyes to continue the momentum from their success at the Jackrabbit Invitational in order to match this competition.

“I don’t want to put a specific number on it, but obviously, we want to win,” Harris said. “We can’t control what the other teams shoot, so I’m more concerned with how we do. We should be able to shoot under 300 every round, which would give us a great tournament.”


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