Junior Kris Grimes finished third overall.
March 31, 2014
By Tyler Wooten
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Saluki women's golf team entered Day Two of the Saluki Invitational with a two-stroke lead on Indiana State but extended that to 14 at the conclusion of the tournament on Monday, earning SIU its third tournament title in 2013-14.
Southern improved its team score by one stroke from the first to the second round, shooting a 308 on Monday to push its two-day total to 617 -- which ties for the 11th-best 36-hole team score in school history. Each Saluki on the winning "A" squad finished within the top-15, and among all Salukis competing two finished in the top-five and five in the top-10.
Second-place Indiana State struggled in the second round, slipping nine strokes from Sunday to Monday. However, SIU received four more superb rounds in the 70s to keep itself afloat and cruise to victory. The win is not only its third in 2013-14, but also its third straight Saluki Invitational win dating back to 2011 (inclement weather cancelled the Invite in 2013) and it is the eighth under SIU head coach Alexis Mihelich in three seasons.
Junior Kris Grimes led the Saluki charge with two more birdies on Monday, giving her a tournament-high total of six in 36 holes played. Grimes, a native of Compton, Calif., was SIU's top finisher in third place overall at 152 (eight-over) and was helped greatly by an opening-round 73 to vault herself up the leaderboard.
"Overall, I was impressed with Kris' performance -- especially playing with all new clubs this week," Mihelich said. "Her opening round set the tone for the whole tournament."
Both Ashleigh (tied for sixth, 155) and Cassie Rushing (tied for ninth, 156) both improved in the final round with a 77 each, but the biggest improvement of the day came from sophomore Mattie Lindner. Lindner, who had shot 75 or lower four times already entering play on Monday, jumped up nine strokes from her 84 on Sunday to give Southern's "A" squad just what it needed to keep a wide berth on the Sycamores.
"The highlight from today came from Mattie," Mihelich said. "We weren't playing our best golf as a team and she came in with a great low score for us today when we needed it the most. Mattie always comes up clutch and plays good in the final round."
Southern's "B" squad finished tied with IPFW for 10th place, and was led by solid play from freshman Brooke Cusumano. The freshman St. Louis native replicated her first round performance with another 18-hole score of 77, which landed her in fifth place overall at 155 -- her highest finish as a Saluki.
Fellow freshman Kristie Yang, who was SIU's top finisher after the first round at third overall after shooting an opening round 72, dropped back with an 83 in round two. That said, Yang's excellent first round score was still enough to put her in a tie for sixth place and make her the best individual competitor in the tournament by nine strokes.
SIU has two more opportunities to fine-tune its game before the Missouri Valley Conference Championships on April 20-22 in Springfield, Ill. -- the Bradley Invitational on April 5-6, and a dual-match with Murray State on April 13 at Dalhousie Golf Club in Cape Girardeau, Mo.
SIU B Team Individual Results:
5. Brooke Cusumano: 77-77 (154)
t-6. Kristie Yang: 72-83 (155) *
t-41. Alexis Gatton: 86-84 (170)
t-56. Savannah Myers: 88-87 (175)
t-59. Morgan Reimler: 86-90 (176)
63. Whitney Nugent: 83-95 (178)
* = Competed as an individual
1. Southern Illinois: 309-308 (617)
2. Indiana State: 311-320 (631)
3. Chicago State: 320-318 (638)
4. Evansville: 325-318 (643)
T5. Western Illinois: 324-325 (649)
T5. IUPUI: 322-327 (649)
T7. SIU-Edwardsville: 336-324 (660)
T7. Washington University (St. Louis): 322-338 (660)
9. Loyola: 335-329 (664)
T10. Southern Illinois B: 332-338 (670)
T10. IPFW: 326-344 (670)
12. Nebraska-Omaha: 332-352 (684)
13. John A. Logan: 352-356 (708)
14. Rend Lake: 362-370 (732)