Golf hopes to excel in spring invitational

Allie Leingang examines the course after she hits the ball.


Allie Leingang examines the course after she hits the ball.

Bradley Piros, Courier Staff

PEORIA, Ill. — The Western Illinois University women’s golf team is in Peoria, Illinois today to participate in the Bradley Spring Invitational. The event will start this morning and carry over into tomorrow.

The Leathernecks have had up-and-down performances in 2018. They notched a third-place finish in their first event of the year at the Ball State Sunshine Invitational but started to slip in the following two events with an eighth-place finish at the Islander Spring Classic and sixth in the MSU Citrus Challenge.

Western last competition was in the MSU Citrus Challenge that took place in Sorrento, Florida. There were 14 teams competing in the event and the Purple and Gold managed a sixth-place finish.

Seniors Allie Leingang and Ashley Dumler were the front runners on the Leatherneck squad in Sorrento. Leingang finished 11th and Dumler was right behind with a 12th place overall finish. Leingang and Dumbler are the unquestioned leaders of the golf team and will be looking to set the tone for the remainder of the team.

Ten teams are participating in the Bradley Spring Invitational, including five teams from the Missouri Valley Conference. The University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of South Dakota, the University of Missouri at St. Louis, the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay and Western Illinois are all looking for supremacy in the Missouri Valley Conference and will fight it out on the course.

The Leathernecks finished tied for fifth place last season with the University of Northern Iowa. They shot 311 in the first round, 300 in the second and 307 in the final round for a total of 918 in the Invitational. Bradley University took a comfortable victory last year, finishing a whole 26 shots ahead of second place Drake University.

Leingang led the way once again in last year’s tournament for the Purple and Gold. She finished tied for seventh and was the only Leatherneck to finish in the top 15. Head coach Lia Biehl Lukkarinen saw that there was plenty of room for growth following the event.

“I was pleased with our team performance. This is a very talented group of players, with unlimited potential,” Lukkarinen said. “As a team we made a lot of birdies but gave too many back. We had two players shoot career lows in Ashley Dumler and Cassidy Jurkaites and had a solid middle round that was split up with nine and nine. Allie (Leingang) had a good event, finishing top 10. With continued focus on the “P’s”, Putting, Proximity on iron play and Performance under Pressure, our team will continue to improve.”

The same sentiment stands for the team this season, they will need to focus on the fundamentals to dethrone the champions on their home course.

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