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Iowa women's golf struggles at Lady Buckeye Invitational

BY MAGGIE CUNNINGHAM | APRIL 18, 2011 7:20 AM

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An 11th-place finish in this past weekend's Lady Buckeye Invitational was not what the Iowa women's golf team hoped to achieve in its last tournament before the Big Ten championships on Friday.

"It would have been nice to head into Big Tens with some positive momentum," junior Chelsea Harris said. "It also would have been nice to not be embarrassed going to Big Tens."

In addition to Iowa, eight of the 12 teams competing in the tournament were from the Big Ten.

The 54-hole competition began on April 16 at the par-72, 6,275-yard Scarlet Golf Course at the Ohio State University Golf Club in Columbus, Ohio.

A long day of 36 holes in wind and rain on April 16 and even windier conditions throughout Sunday's final round had the Hawkeyes struggling to keep up with the competition.

"The conditions were not normal for golfing," said sophomore Kristi Cardwell, who finished in a tie for 48th as Iowa's low scorer at 11 over. "It's frustrating overall, but we can't control the weather. We just have to work with it."

Harris posted Iowa's second-lowest score of 248 to tie for 52nd. She was just one stroke behind Cardwell. Senior Laura Cilek and freshman Woojay Choi led the Hawkeyes in the third round, when they both recorded scores of 83. Cilek totaled 250 strokes for the weekend, and Choi finished the tournament at 257. Senior Lauren Forbes also competed and posted a score of 271.

Poor weather conditions may have kept the Hawkeyes from playing well, but the mental aspect devastated Iowa's game.

"As a team, we need to be tougher, as you can see," Cilek said. "Everyone else played in the same conditions and just braved it out better. We need to play better to keep up with the competition."

Michigan State won the tournament with a team score of 918; it was followed by Kent State's 935 strokes. The Hawkeyes totaled 997, just four strokes better than Xavier University's last-place finish.

"I just move on and take one day at a time," Cardwell said. "It was very tough conditions, and I can't let that get in the way with how well I was actually hitting the ball."

Looking at the positives of the Lady Buckeye Invitational will give the Hawkeyes that tough attitude they need to prepare for the Big Ten championships in Evanston, Ill., against an almost identical field of teams. They will only have one day of practice before they leave for the championships.

The poor finish caused some friction for the Hawkeyes moving into the championship part of the season, but Cardwell said trust in this year's training will keep up their momentum.

"We did all that we could," she said. "No one gave up, and that's all that matters. We gave it our all, as we always do. We haven't all put in great effort in practice to just let one tournament get in the way."


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