Women's Golf Wins Saluki Invitational Title

    Natalie Parker shot a career-best round to finish third in the Saluki Invitational

    Natalie Parker shot a career-best round to finish third in the Saluki Invitational
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    March 28, 2005

    By Shalae Schulte

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    CARBONDALE, Ill. - For the second time in four years, the Southern Illinois University women's golf team won their home tournament, the Saluki Invitational. SIU (626) posted four scores in the 70s for the first time all spring to come from nine strokes back and win the 11th annual event at the Hickory Ridge Golf Course Monday.

    "I'm so proud of them," Saluki head coach Diane Daugherty said. "I thought 316 was a good score yesterday because it was wet and miserable weather. Nine shots back on our golf course aren't that many and they had plenty of confidence that they could make up the shots."

    Led by sophomore Natalie Parker, all six Saluki golfers finished in the top 25. Parker (152) shot a career-best round of 73 Monday to climb seven places to finish third in the two-day event. Fellow sophomores Josie Lowder (78-79--157) and Kelly Gerlach (77-83--160) finished tied for fifth and 10th respectively.

    Senior Stefanie Pate, playing in her final home invitational, finished tied for 12th place with a two-round score of 161 (82-79). Freshman Christine Zoerlein (83-79--162) finished tied for 14th, while sophomore Samantha Sutzer (83-82--165) finished tied for 21st.

    Sophomore Abbigail Johnson competed as an individual finishing 32nd with a score of 168 (86-82).

    Murray State (628) finished second behind the Salukis. Illinois State (630) followed close in third. Eastern Kentucky finished fourth with a score of 649, while Northern Iowa (657) rounded out the top five.

    "This tournament just proves how important one shot is here and there," Daugherty said. "We've been one shot short of a better finish in some of our tournaments, so for us to make up nine shots and win by two is great, I'm very proud of them."

    The Salukis will play their final regular season tournament in Springfield, Mo., on the Rivercut Golf Course, the host site of this year's Missouri Valley Conference tournament. SIU will take part in the Payne Stewart Memorial hosted by SMS April 4-5 before heading back April 17-19 for the conference tournament.