Curtiss' 78 Leads UIC at Horizon League Championship

Elizabeth Curtiss is tied for sixth place after a round of 78 on Friday
Elizabeth Curtiss is tied for sixth place after a round of 78 on Friday

April 25, 2014

Kayla Stueland (96) - 6:30 a.m. CT
Caitlan Smollen (86) - 6:50 a.m. CT
Cherise Mangal (82) - 7:00 a.m. CT
Ryann Gilley (80) - 7:10 a.m. CT
Elizabeth Curtiss (78) - 7:30 a.m. CT


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HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Fla. - Junior Elizabeth Curtiss tied her career low with a round of 78 during Friday's opening day of the 2014 Horizon League Championship on the Las Colinas Golf Course at Mission Inn Golf Resort. Curtiss is tied with four other golfers in sixth place. The UIC women's golf team finished with a collective first-round total of 326 and sits in sixth place ahead of Green Bay (328) with 36 holes to play.

The team score of 326 is the lowest single-round total at the conference championships in program history. The previous low was 335 set at the 2013 Championships. It is UIC’s best round since Sept. 17, 2013 at the Cougar Golf Classic (325) and the seventh lowest in program history.

“I am excited that we accomplished a season long goal to beat our Horizon League Championship low round of 335. Now that we have checked that off, we are focusing on the 320 goal that we believe is in reach,” said UIC head coach Carol Rhoades. “I am especially proud that our players avoided big numbers by staying mentally strong. We practiced our mental skills this winter and we saw that hard work pay off today. As a team, we played the last five holes at 3-over par. Each player came back on the last five holes which showed incredible heart.”

Curtiss, playing at the No. 3 position, carded seven pars and four birdies en route to a 37 on the front nine, followed by a 41 on the back side. She had consecutive birdies on the 13th and 14th holes.

“I am incredibly excited about our team’s performance today,” said Curtiss following her round of 78. “We finally played to our potential and stayed strong mentally through a few challenging holes. I am very proud of how we executed our shots late in the round.”

Curtiss previously fired a 78 at the Chi Town Classic (Sept. 2, 2013) and Green Bay Invite (Sept. 9, 2013). Her round is the lowest by a UIC golfer at the conference championships in program history.

“I have played well the last few weeks in less than ideal conditions,” continued Curtiss. “The weather today was perfect for low scores and I was confident on the course. I feel that my mental strength has improved this season and I stayed focused throughout my entire round. It is extremely rewarding to see my score at the top of the leaderboard and I am focused on improving each shot tomorrow.”

Junior Ryann Gilley had a stellar back nine to finish with a round of 80 and is tied for 15th place. Following a 41 on the front nine, Gilley had four pars and three birdies on the back side.

Gilley was -2 on final six holes, including consecutive birdies on 16 and 17. The round is tied for Gilley’s lowest of the spring as she also fired an 80 at the Seminole State Spring Break Invitational (March 12).

Junior Cherise Mangal is tied for 22nd following a round of 82. She had 11 pars and fired a 41 on the front and back nine. Sophomore Caitlan Smollen had seven pars and sits in 31st following a round of 86.

Oakland holds the team lead following a round of 310. Youngstown State’s Emily Dixon is the individual leader after carding an even-par 73 to lead 14 players shooting in the 70's.

1) Oakland - 310
2) Youngstown State - 312
3) Detroit - 317
4) Valparaiso - 318
5) Cleveland State - 324
6) UIC - 326
T6. Elizabeth Curtiss - 78
T15. Ryann Gilley - 80
T22. Cherise Mangal - 82
T31. Caitlan Smollen - 86
35. Kayla Stueland - 96  
7) Wisconsin-Green Bay - 328