Stroke play came to a dramatic end for the No. 14 Kent State University women’s golf team, but the Flashes secured the eighth seed in match play and will take on Northwestern in the quarterfinals today.
The Golden Flashes finished 54 holes of stroke play at 55-over par 919, with a score of 312 on the final day. With ninth-place North Carolina warming up on the driving range, Kent State needed a par from Michaela Finn on the par 5 18th hole to avoid a playoff. Finn nearly reached the green in three strokes, but landed her third shot in the bunker. Finn stayed steady under pressure, and chipped it onto the green to set up a par putt that she made with ease.
“I just let her play,” said head coach Greg Robertson. “With so many players out there and shots being hit I wanted her to take care of her game. She didn’t know where she stood. We just let her play and it turned out okay for us.”
Defeating North Carolina by a stroke over 54 holes puts the Flashes against top-seeded Northwestern, who have led the tournament after all three rounds. The winner of that match will face the winner between (4) Ohio State and (5) USC later Tuesday afternoon. The other side of the bracket features (2) Stanford vs. (7) Baylor and (3) Arizona State vs. (6) Florida.
In year three of the match play format for the women’s golf championship, Kent State is the only team to ever reach the quarterfinals from outside of the “Power 5” conferences.
Finn finished the day with an 81, putting her final stroke play score at 12-over par 228. She ended in a tie for 23rd overall. Needing a par on the par-5 18th, Kent State relied on its best par-5 golfer over the last 54 holes. She was 3-under on par-5’s in stroke play, averaging 4.75 strokes.
“I’m really proud of this team,” said Finn. “I feel like our team has a big of chance in match play.”
Pimnipa Panthong and Wad Phaewchimplee each finished stroke play tied for 32nd at 14-over par 230. Panthong had her best round of the tournament Monday at 3-over par 75, while Phaewchimplee shot a 76 for her best round as well. Phaewchimplee recorded 37 pars over 54 holes, four off the overall lead in the tournament.
Kelly Nielsen posted Kent State’s third best score Monday at 80, coming up with three straight pars over the final three holes to help keep Kent State in the top eight. She finished stroke play at +26 242. Karoline Stormo shot an 82 in round three, putting her final score at 17-over par 233, good for 57th place.
The match play action will broadcast live today on the Golf Channel.
Story courtesy of the Kent State Athletic Dept.