Freshman Xianmei Jin tied a career-low with a final-round 70 on Sunday.
March 16, 2014
By Tyler Wooten
ORANGE PARK, Fla -- Saluki women's golf finished fourth at the conclusion of the Eagle Landing Invitational on Sunday, after shooting a third-round team score of 305.
Amid windy conditions the Salukis were able to stay the course and hold onto fourth place on Sunday. Southern again posted five rounds in the 70s and had only one above 80 --the fewest rounds 80 or higher in a tournament during SIU head coach Alexis Mihelich's tenure.
"I'm proud of the team grinding it out and keeping our place," Mihelich said. "The conditions were tough, steady 35 mile-per-hour wind gusts all day and we never dropped."
Senior Cassie Rushing held the overall lead after Day Two after shooting a 73 and a 70 in the first two rounds. Rushing still ended up as SIU's top finisher with a 54-hole total of 220 after shooting a third-round 77. Rushing, SIU's all-time leader in rounds in the 70s, put herself in the record books once again as her three-round total ranks tied for fourth all-time at SIU.
"Cassie had a great tournament," Mihelich said. "She's about to hit her stride leading up to the Saluki Invitational and the conference championship."
Two underclassmen, sophomore Mattie Lindner and freshman Brooke Cusumano, came up huge for Southern in the end. Lindner and Cusumano both finished tied for 26th overall at a 54-hole total of 226, which is a career best for both golfers. For Lindner, this was the first time in her Saluki career she completed a tournament with each round in the 70s, and it was the second such time for Cusumano in her first year at SIU.
"When your underclassmen are setting personal bests, you know it's a good tournament," Mihelich said.
Junior Kris Grimes (232, 43rd) improved upon a steady performance with a third-round 76 -- her second-best total score in 2013-14. Senior Ashleigh Rushing (tied for 50th, 235) shot her third-best of the season herself with a total score of 235.
The surprise of the tournament was freshman and individual competitor Xianmei Jin, who bounced back with an impressive three-round total of 223 -- including a final-round 70 to tie her career-low. Her 54-hole score ranks tied for the eighth-best in school history.
Although the Salukis finished fourth, their performance as a team this weekend will be one etched into the record books as well. SIU's 18-hole first-round score of 296 ranks tied as the seventh-best in school history, its 54-hole score of 596 ranks as the fourth-best all-time and its 54-hole score of 901 ranks tied for the fourth-best as well. Additionally, each of SIU's team round scores ranks on the all-time lists for best first-round score (296, third), second-round score (300, tied for sixth) and third-round score (305, tied for ninth).
Next up, SIU comes home to host the Saluki Invitational on March 30-31 at Hickory Ridge Golf Course.
t-4. Cassie Rushing: 73-70-77 (220)
t-13. Xianmei Jin: 74-79-70 (223) *
t-26. Mattie Lindner: 74-74-78 (226)
t-26. Brooke Cusumano: 74-78-74 (226)
43. Kris Grimes: 78-78-76 (232)
t-50. Ashleigh Rushing: 75-78-82 (235)
* = Competed as an individual
1. Elon: 293-300-299 (892)
2. Georgia State: 292-297-307 (896)
3. Delaware: 291-301-307 (899)
4. Southern Illinois: 296-300-305 (901)
5. Daytona State: 307-295-301 (903)
6. Samford: 303-293-310 (906)
7. Western Carolina: 295-306-307 (908)
T8. Wofford: 300-306-307 (913)
T8. Florida Gulf Coast: 301-300-312 (913)
10. James Madison: 300-307-310 (917)
11. Morehead State: 303-301-314 (918)
12. Stetson: 305-308-310 (923)
13. Stephen F. Austin: 302-318-314 (934)
14. North Carolina-Greensboro: 306-316-315 (937)
15. Richmond: 306-312-323 (941)
16. Georgetown: 314-237-319 (870) *
* = Disqualified