End of fall season doesn't end practice for women's golf


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Before heading into the final fall tournament in Florence, Ind., the Iowa women’s golf team had improved its team score in every event it had participated in. The Hoosier Fall Invitational was not kind to the Black and Gold, though, and the Hawkeyes posted their worst score during the final round.

The Hawkeyes’ season concluded with an eighth place among the 13 teams this past weekend. After that disappointing end to the fall, the squad doesn’t expect to take too much time off.

“We didn’t do as well as we wanted to,” senior Kristi Cardwell said. “But that always leaves room for improvement, and [it’s] motivation for the spring.”

Iowa will not participate in a competitive tournament until 2013, when it is scheduled to partake in the Hurricane Invitational in Miami beginning Feb. 4.

Fall-season highlights include a couple of first career holes-in-one for Iowa golfers. Cardwell recorded her first ace during the first-round of action at the Dick McGuire Invitational on Sept. 17. Sophomore Shelby Phillips carded her first career hole-in-one this year during the Johnie Imes Invitational in Columbia, Mo.

“I think it gave the whole team a big energy boost,” Cardwell said about Phillips’ shot. “When we all heard that it had happened again, it really got our spirits up.”

The Hawkeyes finished the fall circuit with one top-five finish in the four tournaments they participated in, and Hawkeye Amy Ihm stressed the skill the Hawks need to improve if they want to see more top-five results.

“Putting is really what separates the outstanding players from the not-so outstanding players,” the freshman said. “So if we pick up our putting a little bit, we’ll be right there in the top-five every time.”

Both the Iowa women’s and men’s golf teams can look forward to experience something this off-season they haven’t been able to in previous years — practice year-round. A $1.8 million indoor golf facility is nearing completion at the Finkbine Golf Course. The building, which was funded by private donations, will give golfers the opportunity to work on their game all hours of the day, all days of the year. The grand opening for the facility is scheduled for February 2013.

“Being at the UI gives us so much opportunity to work on our game, regardless of the weather,” junior Anna DePalma said.

The results of Iowa’s season may not have been exactly what the coaches and players had expected. But head coach Megan Menzel and assistant coach Laura Cilek have continued to stock the Iowa roster with young and seemingly talented recruits.

The team plans to take advantage of NCAA-sanctioned practice time, because the season doesn’t officially end for a few more weeks. But improvement won’t end when official practice is over; the golfers are thinking about off-season workouts on their own, and eventually, their new facility.

“This season was about growing as a team,” Ihm said. “We’re young and have a lot to experience yet. So we’re going to work hard.”

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