Ellett finds game in spring

By Rhema Rhea

Sophomore women’s golfer Connie Ellett has stepped up her game over last semester’s play, garnering conference attention and notching a MAC Golfer of the Week recognition Friday.

The last NIU MAC golfer of the week was Allie Parthie on Sept. 19, 2012.

Compared to her fall season, Ellett has been a different athlete on the golf course during the spring. She is hoping to continue her hot streak.

Ellett got the second portion of NIU’s schedule off on the right foot when she won all three of her MAC Match Play event matchups during the Huskies’ spring opener Feb. 3-4 in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.

Ellett brought her momentum to Corpus Christi, Texas, and the 16-team Islander Classic where she had a card of 228 (76-77-75) and a 16th-place finish out of 83 golfers.

Ellett’s 228 was not only the best NIU finish for that tournament, but also ranks as the ninth-lowest 54-hole tournament total of any golfer in program history. The card was also the lowest NIU 54-hole score since the 1994 Illinois State Invitational.

Ellett comes from a golf-loving family, as she golfs alongside her sister, Taylor Ellett, and followed her mother Sue (Sisler) Ellett, a four-time letter winner, to NIU.

“It’s very cool knowing that I have a record,” Ellett said. “My mom played here and is in the NIU golf hall of fame. She was pretty good when she played here. My grandpa is always saying how great she was and how she was so much better than we were, but she doesn’t have any records in there. I was proud of myself, and I worked really hard, and it was nice to see my hard work pay off.”

The spring portion of the Huskies’ schedule has been a different story for Ellett. During the fall, the Sept. 16-17 Cougar Golf Classic was pinpointed as one of Ellett’s worst outings, as she totaled a 167 (82-85).

Things seemed to have gone full circle for the second-year golfer, as she spent most of her holiday break working out kinks in her game.

“She’s been in play more off the tee this spring maybe more than last fall,” said head coach Kim Kester. “Her putting averages have dropped a little bit, her fairways have improved, her fairway and her hit percentage [have] improved.

“It is definitely a total game thing, and there [are] certain areas you want to continue to work on, so she’s been doing that, and you see the improvements all across the board.”

Ellett said her short game was her biggest weakness and she took advantage of the offseason and feels more confident in her putting.

“I worked my butt off this offseason trying to get back to where I’m supposed to be,” Ellett said. “I worked really hard on my widgets, my short game, and that’s what’s made me score well so far.

“That’s the tough part about the spring: We don’t get to see a ton of ball flight, so if you have a good short game that’s how you’re going to save some shots, so that’s what I did during the offseason. I was just really focusing on my short game, and that has saved me so many shots this spring.

“Just in the fall I couldn’t put a round together and I struggled a lot mentally, and … my play so far has been a big confidence booster for me, for sure.”