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Women's golf posts a poor performance at Big Tens

BY MAGGIE CUNNINGHAM | APRIL 25, 2011 7:20 AM

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"We could have done better" was the phrase muttered by Iowa's women golfers on Sunday afternoon.

The Hawkeyes finished last with a team score of 1261 at the Big Ten championships in Glencoe, Ill. The 72-hole, three-day tournament began on April 21 with two rounds and concluded on April 23. It was held at the Lake Shore Country Club Golf Course, hosted by Northwestern.

"I don't really know [what happened], honestly," senior Laura Cilek said. "We prepared well, we knew the course, so from there I really don't know what happened."

The Hawkeyes have been struggling to put together a strong performance for most of the spring season. The weather April 22 didn't make the feat any easier.

"The first day was a little challenging," Cilek said. "The rain and the wind make the course play tough. But we can't use that as an excuse for our play because every other player was in the same conditions."

Michigan State won the conference championship with a score of 1,180. The Spartans were in fifth after the first round. Purdue took second just five strokes behind Michigan State. Northwestern posted a score of 1,187 for third.

In Iowa's last competition at the Lady Buckeye Invitational on April 16-17, the team took 11th out of a 12-team field. The short break gave the Hawkeyes just two days to practice and regroup before heading to Big Tens.

"Ohio State didn't help our confidence by any means," junior Chelsea Harris said. "It may have been nice to have an extra day or two in between to work on a couple of things. But that wasn't really an excuse for our poor performance."

It was the short game that cost the Hawkeyes plenty of strokes, and the team sees that aspect of their game as a target for improvement.

"We could play to our potential and be more consistent with our scores," sophomore Kristi Cardwell said. "Over the summer, I have a lot of work to do. I will be working majority of my time on my short game."

Similar to Cardwell, Harris' score suffered when she had to use her short game through the first three rounds. She finished the tournament with 312 strokes.

"I gave every shot my absolute all," Harris said. "I just didn't have my swing the entire tournament and had to rely on my short game, which was shaky the first three rounds."

The Hawkeyes agreed they didn't play to their potential, which Cardwell describes as shooting under 300 per round. But the team plans to look to the future rather than dwell on their poor performances this season.

"Overall, I believe and know we could have done better," Cardwell said. "But it is all in the past, and we can't do anything about it now."

For the returning Hawkeyes, the Big Ten championship results were motivation for next year. For those senior athletes, it was a disappointing ending to an otherwise positive student-athlete experience.

"Well, it was my last tournament and end to my college career at Iowa," Cilek said. "Obviously, I wish the outcome could have been better, but it was a fun weekend for me to have my friends and family around for my last tournament."


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