The No. 15 Kent State University women’s golf team has qualified for the 2017 NCAA National Championship after finishing the NCAA Lubbock Regional in sixth place at 11-over par 875 (305-287-283).
Kent State entered the day tied with No. 2 UCLA in sixth place, but held its ground and fought off a tough battle from Oregon State. The Beavers shot 10-under par Wednesday and briefly moved ahead of the Golden Flashes, but Kent State recorded five birdies as a team over the final six holes, despite some late winds, to secure a two-stroke lead in sixth.
“I’m really proud of the way they played, especially the last two days after a slow start,” said head coach Greg Robertson. “Starting the day being tied with the No. 2 team in the country, they stayed focused and played solid until the end. This team has worked hard all year and they deserve this. We’re happy for them, now it’s time to get ready for Nationals.”
The Flashes join tournament champions No. 7 Arizona, No. 10 Furman, Oregon, No. 18 Texas and hosts Texas Tech in the NCAA National Championship. This is their first appearance as a team since 2010. The national final will be held May 19-24 at Rich Harvest Farms, in Sugar Grove, Illinois, hosted by Northern Illinois University. The final three days of the championship will be televised live by the Golf Channel.
Individually, the Flashes were led by a pair of freshmen in the top-10. Pimnipa Panthong finished in fourth place at 5-under par 211, three strokes off a regional championship. She had her best round of the week with a 3-under 69, with four birdies. After a bogey early on the sixth hole, Panthong shot par or better the rest of the tournament.
Karoline Stormo was one off matching her career-best mark Wednesday, tying Panthong for the day at 69. After a 77 in round one, Stormo was the Flashes’ top performer and finished eighth at 2-under par 214. Stormo birdied the 17th hole to secure the final two-stroke lead. Michaela Finn finished tied for 38th at 7-over par 223. She posted her second straight round of even par 72 Wednesday.
Senior Wad Phaewchimplee finished tied for 59th at 11-over par 227. Like most of her teammates, she had her best round of the week Wednesday at 1-over par 73. By qualifying for Nationals, Phaewchimplee’s career comes full circle, having previously qualified as an individual her freshman year. Sophomore Kelly Nielsen put the cap on a successful postseason run with the best performance of her collegiate career. Competing in her first NCAA Regional, Nielsen matched her career-best score of 2-over par 74. She ended the day with 17 holes of par or better. Nielsen finished tied for 72nd at 16-over par 232.
Story courtesy of the Kent State Athletic Dept.