Illini, Wang, Post Historic Sweep at B1G Championship

Women’s Golf |

PITTSBURGH – The Illinois women’s golf team captured the first Big Ten title in program history by carding a final round 287 (+3) to finish the tournament at 13-over, backed by Crystal Wang firing an incredible 9-under 62 to finish at 12-under, earning medalist honors. The Fighting Illini’s overall score of 865 is the sixth-lowest score by a winning team in a 54-hole championship.

“It’s pretty amazing,” said head coach Renee Slone. “Honestly, I’m still soaking it all in. The team played hard start to finish and it was a total team effort. Everybody contributed and I’m just very proud of their energy, effort and resilience throughout the year.”

“Crystal was just doing Crystal stuff. She was in her own little world and as far as the shots that I saw, it was very impressive. She did a really good job of staying present and being in the moment. She saved her best for today and really brought it. She was the key component to our success.”

Wang became the first Illini since head coach Slone (formerly Heiken) in 1993 to win the Big Ten crown, doing so in completely dominant fashion. Not only does her score of 9-under match the program record for lowest round, her 62 is the lowest round at any conference tournament, while also besting the Big Ten Championship low round by one stroke. Wang’s overall score of 201 (-12) is the lowest 54-hole score at the Big Ten Championships, breaking the previous record by four strokes.

Wang got off to a blistering start, collecting birdies on the first four holes and in five of the first seven. The Diamond Bar, Calif, native didn’t slow down on the back, picking up five birdies on holes 10-15 to give her a total of nine birdies on the day.

“I started off with a couple birdies and that built my confidence,” Wang said. “I hit a lot of greens and I was able to make most putts within 15 feet, which helps a lot. I just continued to stay present and be where I’m at.”

“When I finished, I was kind of nervous on my last hole. Once I made the putt for par…I could just hear my teammates cheering, then I knew we won. Once I heard confirmation that we won, I just felt like everything we’ve worked on this past year, all the ups and downs, it was worth it.”

The graduate student was the only golfer in the field to finish under par, winning by 12 strokes. She led the field in par 3 (2.83, -2) scoring, par 4 (3.85, -5) and rolled home a tournament-high 17 birdies.

Wang (-1.45) also won the Mary Fossum Award, presented to the Big Ten golfer with the lowest stroke average relative to par this season, according to the Golfstat rankings, and was named to the Big Ten All-Championship team.

Also named to the all-championship team was Isabel Sy, who finished fourth after her final round 75 (+4). Sy went 1-over (37) on the front and 3-over (38) on the back to earn the best finish of her career and her third Top 5 finish of the season. Her 11 total birdies were third-most in the tournament and she matched Wang for the lowest scoring average on par 3s (2.83, -2).

Lexanne Halama finished tied for 30th after her final round 72 (+1). Halama posted a 37 (+1) on the front, racking up birdies in three of the final four holes. The Knoxville, Tenn., native shot even-par on back, collecting a massive birdie on No. 18 to end her round. The sophomore ends the tournament as one of five players to pick up an eagle over the weekend.

Siyan Chen finished tied for 34th after posting a final round 81 (+10). Mattie Frick placed tied for 65th after her round of 79 (+8) and Anna Ritter finished tied for 74th after her round of 78 (+7).

As a team, Illinois carded a tournament-high 54 birdies and finished with the second-lowest scoring average on par 5s (4.80, -11).

Earning the conference’s automatic bid for an NCAA regional birth, the Fighting Illini will find out where they will be traveling to on Wednesday, April 26, when the selections are announced at 12:00 p.m. CT.


Place Big Ten Championships RD1 RD2 RD3 FINAL
1 Illinois 286 292 287 865
1 Crystal Wang 71 68 62 201
4 Isabel Sy 69 70 75 214
T30 Lexanne Halama 78 77 72 227
T34 Siyan Chen 70 77 81 228
T65 Mattie Frick 76 80 79 235
T74 Anna Ritter 79 80 78 237


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