Women’s golf heads to last tournament before Big Tens


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A 10th-place finish at last year’s Lady Buckeye Invitational has the Iowa women’s golf team trying to prove itself in Columbus, Ohio, this weekend.

“Because we did not finish well last year at this tournament, I would love to see us finish top-three to prove to everyone how hard we have been working over the past year,” sophomore Kristi Cardwell said.

The 54-hole tournament will begin Saturday at the par-72, 6,275-yard Scarlet Golf Course at the Ohio State University Golf Club. The golfers will play a long day of 36 holes on Saturday and conclude with the final round on April 17.

To ensure the Hawkeyes don’t leave Columbus with last year’s regrets, head coach Kelly Crawford had the team focus on its short game.

“We spent a lot of time chipping, pitching, and putting,” senior Laura Cilek said. “Our short game will save us a lot of strokes this week.”

The short game has been a recurring problem for the team. At the previous tournament in Dove Canyon, Calif., the Hawkeyes took a disappointing seventh place after struggling to finish strong at each hole.

“Overall, our team did not play as well as we should have,” Cardwell said after the last tournament, the Anteater Invitational March 28-29. “We have a few weeks to get good practice in, so I hope that will help everyone refocus and play to her potential.”

That time off has allowed the team to work on the basics of putting and chipping. Making a point to focus on the team’s weakness during its break from competition, junior Chelsea Harris said, will produce some good rounds this weekend.

“Short game is going to make all the difference at the Scarlet Course,” she said. “All of us can hit the ball well enough to get it to the green; it’s just a matter of finishing each hole strong.”

It’s essential that the Hawkeyes post a strong score because the Lady Buckeye Invitational is known to draw a tough field of teams.

Of the 12-team field, six are ranked in the top 50. Iowa State is the highest-ranked team set to compete at No. 16. Host Ohio State, ranked 31st, is the two-time defending champion. The Buckeyes won last year’s competition with a score of just 919.

Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State, Minnesota, and Northwestern are among the other Big Ten teams that will be represented.

This will be Iowa’s last tournament before the Big Ten championships, which will be held in Evanston, Ill., on April 22-24. The team is hoping to gain some momentum with a strong performance in Columbus.

Although the Hawkeyes will see many of the same Big Ten teams in a week, Iowa is focusing on this weekend.

“We are just taking it one tournament at a time,” Cilek said. “The golf course for Big Tens is pretty different from Ohio State, but we can definitely get some momentum going into Big Tens by playing well in Ohio.”

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