Daily Egyptian

Women’s golf comes back to win Saluki Invitational

By Matt Wells, @mattwells_DE

SIU women’s golf won the two-day Saluki Invitational on Monday at Hickory Ridge Golf Course in Carbondale for the fourth consecutive time.

The team split into an ‘A’ and ‘B’ team, with the ‘B’ team finishing third in the 11-team tournament.

The ‘A’ team was down 7 strokes to SIU Edwardsville after day one, but came back to win the tournament by a stroke. It  improved by 13 strokes from Sunday to Monday.

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For the first time in her career, junior Mattie Lindner finished as the tournament’s medalist, shooting 74 and 76.

“I think confidence was a huge factor,” Lindner said.

Women’s golf coach Alexis Mihelich said Lindner was prepared to capture her first collegiate victory.

Sophomores Kristie Yang and Brooke Cusumano and senior Kris Grimes finished tied for sixth, tied for 11th and tied for 13th, respectively. 

Sophomore Xianmei Jin was the fifth Saluki on the ‘A’ team, tying for 22nd.

Lindner credited Mihelich with re-focusing the team when it was down after Sunday.

“She said, ‘We need to figure out what kind of golfers we are,’” Lindner said. “’[If] we’re going to battle back being down, or if we’re just going to be OK with losing on our home course. We need to defend our dawghouse. We need to stand up.’”

Lindner said a 7-stroke deficit is a huge gap but the team was not going to let its sister school win.

Mihelich disliked how her team fell behind early on.

“It was definitely disappointing after the first round,” Mihelich said. “It’s our home course, the course we play every day.”

Lindner said the wind was another factor. She said it is better to use a stronger club because at least the players know they will not be short of the target.

“If [the hole] is 100 yards [away] and you normally use your pitching wedge, you’re really going to need your 7-iron,” Lindner said.

Lindner credited the win to Yang’s improvement on day two, and her coach agreed.

Yang shot 84 on Sunday and 76 on Monday. 

“If it wasn’t for [Yang’s] 8-stroke improvement, we definitely wouldn’t have won,” Mihelich said.

Lindner said she set some goals in the fall, which included winning a tournament before she graduated.

She said being one of the four competitors in the 62-player field to shoot in the 70s will help her confidence in the future.

The Saluki ‘B’ team was led by freshman Hanna Netisingha, who tied for ninth, and redshirt sophomore Morgan Reimler, who tied for 11th. Freshmen Jackie Biggs and Alice Ho also finished within the top 20 golfers.

The team competes April 13 in the Indiana State Spring Invitational in Terre Haute, Ind.

Matt Wells can be reached at [email protected] or at 536-6311 ext. 269.

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