Feb. 4, 2011
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The University of Iowa women’s golf team comes off a solid 2009-10 season in which numerous team and individual records were broken. The Hawkeyes will compete in nine tournaments in 2010-11 before the Big Ten and NCAA Championships this spring. Head Coach Kelly Crawford enters her fifth season at the helm of the program and will return six letterwinners, including the low scorer, junior Chelsea Harris. Coach Kelly Crawford believes the returning players will contribute to the improvement of the team.
“The returners are our top six players from last year. Having senior leadership is going to be huge for our program as well. Laura (Cilek) has been playing really solid. Lauren (Forbes) finished so well at the conference championship last year and is so consistent, and Brianna (Coopman) has improved a lot so we’re going to have that coming back. Kristi (Cardwell), a sophomore, learned a lot last year and played really well as a freshman. She’s worked very hard on her game and her confidence is flourishing. The confidence is growing with all of them and that is a good thing,” said Crawford.
Senior Laura Cilek, an Iowa City West alum, returns for her fourth season as a Hawkeye. She competed in 31 rounds as a junior, posting an even 79 average. Her low round of 72 came at the Eagle Landing Invitational. Fellow senior Brianna Coopman registered 31 rounds in 2009-10, carding a 67 at the Challenge at Onion Creek. She finished with a 79.6 average. Iowa’s third returning senior, Lauren Forbes, finished the season with an average of 79.9 over 25 rounds. Her best round was a 74. Iowa also returns low-scorer Chelsea Harris. Harris led the team with a 77.6 average. She played 28 rounds, posting a low-round 69 at the Challenge at Onion Creek.
Coach Crawford also welcomes two freshmen and has high expectations for the newcomers, Karly Grouwinkel and Woojay Choi. Grouwinkel, hailing from Mt. Prospect, IL, was a three-time all-conference selection at Prospect High School and holds the school record for the lowest 18-hole score (73). Choi, a The Woodlands, TX native, led The Woodlands College Park High School to back-to-back runner-up finishes at her high school’s district championship. Choi also was a two-time runner-up in the Manitoba Junior Girl’s Championship.
Crawford expressed her high expectations for her incoming freshman, “Both have super fundamentals and both are going to develop into outstanding contributors for our team. Karly has an athletic swing and she hits the ball so far. Woojay has only been playing golf a few years and already is so advanced with her game and is putting up low numbers. It’s going to be fun watching these two improve and become top players over the next four years. We’ll look forward to getting them into the mix and experiencing college golf.”
The Hawkeyes will also welcome back Assistant Coach John Owens for his second season. Owens, a Midland Lutheran College alum, had four years of coaching experience between Division NAIA Midland Lutheran College and Division I Troy University before coming to Iowa.
“He (Coach Owens) has been a tremendous addition to our staff. He’s very knowledgeable and works really will with the players,” noted Crawford. “He’s got a lot of great ideas and has done a fantastic job recruiting. I really enjoy working with John. We have high expectations for this team and I have a feeling that this year is going to be much different than years past. Not only are we going to play well, and I expect records to be broken, but we’re all going to have a lot of fun along the way.”
The women’s golf team will play a challenging fall 2010 schedule, opening in Lincoln, NE on September 13-14 at Chip-N-Club Invitational. The Hawkeyes then return home for their only home meet of the season, competing in the Hawkeye Invitational on September 18-19. They will once again hit the road, heading to Madison, WI to play in the Badger Invitational on September 26-27. The Lady Northern tournament is next, as the Hawkeyes will travel to Chicago, IL to compete on October 11-12. The team will tee it up for the last time during the fall on November 1-2 in Austin, TX at the 2010 Challenge at Onion Creek. Coach Crawford believes her team will play well this season and is holding a high standard.
“I really believe that we can keep our scoring average around 300. That’s our goal. We certainly have the talent and this team is very connected. I believe in these girls and I am really excited to see what the season brings,” concluded the Hawkeye coach.