Women's golf set to open season at Redbird Invitational

    Cassie Rushing finished in the top five individuals in eight tournaments last year, including a win at the Saluki Invitational.

    Cassie Rushing finished in the top five individuals in eight tournaments last year, including a win at the Saluki Invitational.
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    By John Lock

    What: Redbird Invitational
    Where: Weibring Golf Course; Normal, Ill.
    Course Par, Yardage: 72, 6,097 yards
    Participating Teams (15): Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green State, Bradley, Drake, Eastern Kentucky, Evansville, Illinois State, Illinois Wesleyan, Oakland, Ohio, South Dakota State, Southern Illinois, Toledo, Western Illinois

    To follow live results from the tournament, click HERE.

    NORMAL, Ill. - The Southern Illinois women's golf team is set to open the 2012-13 season with the Redbird Invitational, hosted by Illinois State University at the Weibring Golf Course. The Salukis will play 36 holes on Saturday and another 18 on Sunday on the Par-72, 6,097-yard course.

    "I look forward to opening our fall schedule with conference competition," head coach Alexis Mihelich said. "This tournament is one of our stronger events this fall."

    SIU also opened the season at the Redbird Invitational last year, finishing second of 17 teams. Cassie Rushing led the team and tied for fourth overall--the first of eight top-five individual finishes that Rushing recorded in 2011-12.

    Rushing went on to lead the team in scoring average by more than a stroke per round, but SIU lost its other two All-Conference golfers from a year ago. Margaret Gilley has joined the staff as a volunteer student coach, and Alisha Matthews graduated. Shaina Rennegarbe and Ashleigh Rushing return from a year ago and were both in the top-five scoring averages on the team last year.



    "We lost two All-Conference players from last season. When you have a small lineup of five, it's a significant loss," Mihelich said. "These seniors were replaced by incoming freshmen, and they're as ready as they can be to open their collegiate careers. As for returners, Cassie Rushing should be in contention for medalist honors."

    Illinois State won the tournament last year, shooting a final-round 295 to come from behind and claim the win. SIU posted the third-best final-round score (312) but couldn't catch the Redbirds.

    Outside Cassie Rushing, Rennegarbe and Ashleigh Rushing also competed in the tournament in 2011. Rennegarbe finished tied for 50th of 98 golfers with a three-round score of 245. Rushing finished tied for 41st and shot a 242 competing as an individual.

    Live scoring is available through GolfStat. Access live scoring by clicking HERE. Updates will also be posted through Twitter @SIU_WGolf.