Illinois makes history at the Big Ten Women's Championships
In what was expected to be two team race between Northwestern and Ohio State, Illinois crashed the party at Fox Chapel Golf Club in Pittsburgh and walked away with its first-ever Big Ten Conference Women's Golf Championship.
The Illini entered the final day one shot behind 36-hole leader Ohio State but rode a 9-under 62 by medalist Crystal Wang all the way to the winner's circle on Sunday.
At 13-over, Illinois finished three strokes clear of tournament favorite Northwestern while Ohio State slipped to third at 19-over after struggling to a final round of 10-over 294.
Wang and junior Isabel Sy carried the Illini to its historic win at Fox Chapel. Wang opened her final round with four consecutive birdies and added another on the ninth to make the turn at 5-under 31. She picked up four more on the back on holes 10, 12, 13 and 15 for a tournament-record 9-under 62.
At 12-under 201, Wang posted the lowest 54-hole score in the championship's history which was good for a runaway victory over Isabella McCauley of Minnesota and Emily Lauterbach of Wisconsin, who finished at even par. She is the first Illinois golfer to win the Big Ten individual championship since her head coach Renee Slone (formerly Heiken) accomplished the feat in 1993.
"Crystal was just doing Crystal stuff," said Illinois head coach Renee Sloan. "She was in her own little world and as far as the shots that I saw, it was very impressive. She did a really good job of staying present and being in the moment. She saved her best for today and really brought it. She was the key component to our success."
After rounds of 69 and 70, Sy entered the final round tied with her teammate for the individual lead but settled for a fourth after carding a 75 on Sunday.
Prior to winning its conference championship, Illinois had finished no higher than sixth in any tournament this season.
"It's pretty amazing," said Illinois head coach Renee Slone. "Honestly, I'm still soaking it all in. The team played hard start to finish and it was a total team effort. Everybody contributed and I'm just very proud of their energy, effort and resilience throughout the year.
ABOUT THE Big Ten Women's Championship
54-hole stroke-play event to decide the women's
the Big 10 Conference. Team (best four scores out
six players each round) and individual competitions.
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