SIU women's golf group hits a low point — in a good way
Southern Illinois University women’s golf team might have finished in fifth place at the Cardinal Classic in Muncie, Indiana, recently, but it still grabbed a prize: a team total of 889 strokes, which broke the school record for lowest tourney score, an 892 in 2006.
Freshman Emilyee McGiles led the squad, finishing in eighth place, 10 strokes off the lead. Moyea Russell, another freshman, tied for 20th with classmate Hanna Netisingha. Head coach Alexis O’Brien said in a press release that the team performed very well at the tournament but still has room for improvement.
"The freshmen led the way, and we didn't have to count a high score,” O’Brien said in the press release. “I am excited to see what the future holds. We can only improve from here."
Following her performance in the tournament, McGiles was named Missouri Valley Conference women’s golfer of the week.
A few returning Salukis also turned in solid performances, including senior Alice Ho, who finished in 29th place, with a score of 225.
Nineteen teams took part in a tough tournament that saw three strokes separate the Salukis from fourth-place Toledo and six from third-placed Akron. The University of Indianapolis won the tournament with a combined team score of 863.
The men’s golf team was also in action recently, finishing in 11th place at the Iowa Golfweek Challenge. Frankie Thomas led the team and received Missouri Valley Conference golfer of the week honors for his efforts. Thomas tied for 12th place at -2 , his best score at SIU since September 2016.
A number of top teams took part in the challenge, which featured 10 schools ranked in the top 100 last year.
In an SIU press release, men’s head coach Justin Fetcho said Thomas turned in a great performance and showed a lot of resiliency after scoring a double bogey on the first hole of the final round.
“In the middle of the round he lost a ball and takes two more doubles, but then he birdies his last two holes to shoot two-over” Fetcho said in the press release. “What he did today shows what our team tries to be about — don't let a bad break faze you — battle back."
North Carolina State University won the tournament with a team score of 847. The University of Iowa finished in second place with a team score of 849, and the University of North Carolina Wilmington took third place with a score of 857.
Fetcho said in a press release that the golf team is quickly improving and the pieces are starting to fall into place.
“When you're going off against tough competition, you kind of get exposed if not everything is spot on," he said in the release. "We try to schedule the toughest tournaments we can, so we do get exposed, and then come back and learn from it. I do think there's a lot of positives to take away. We'll put our heads down and go to work before our next event."
The men’s golf team will start October in Baton Rouge, Lousiana, at the David Toms Intercollegiate tournament hosted by Louisiana State University. The women’s team will take part in the Cougar Classic in early October in Chicago.