May 9, 2013
NORMAN, Okla. - The Michigan State women's golf team started its quest for a berth in the NCAA Championships on the right note after shooting a 3-over-par 291 - the third-lowest score in Spartan postseason history - in Thursday's first round at the NCAA Central Regional at the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club. The ninth-seeded Spartans are tied for fifth place with two rounds left to play; the top-eight teams in the 24-team regional will advance to the NCAA Championships May 23-26 in Athens, Ga.
The round of 291 also marked the second-best team score by MSU in NCAA Regional action. The Spartans shot a 283 in the third round of the 2012 NCAA East Regional and carded a 289 in the fourth round of the 2002 NCAA Championships.
Third-seeded Florida leads the field after one round with a 6-under 282, followed by second-seeded Oklahoma (283) and top-seeded Duke (284).
"I'm definitely pleased with how we played today," said MSU head coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll. "I think it's a good start. It's a qualifying tournament, so we would like to keep ourselves in the top four or five, which is a nice position to be in to qualifying for the NCAA Championships. We did a lot of things good today; everyone is confident right now in what they're doing. We're looking forward to another nice round tomorrow.
"You can see from the scores that there were good scoring conditions today. There wasn't a lot of wind, it rained a ton last night so the greens were a little softer, and the Bermuda (grass) is still dormant, so there's really no rough. Plus, the course is fairly open."
Juniors Allyssa Ferrell and Liz Nagel led the way for the Spartans on Thursday, as they each carded an even-par 72 to sit in a tie for 26th place. It marked the lowest postseason score of Ferrell's career. Ferrell registered three birdies on the front nine and made the turn at 1-under 35, and shot a 1-over 37 on the back nine to finish even.
Nagel birdied four of the first seven holes, but also had a double-bogey and bogey during that stretch. She also made the turn at 1-under and carded a 1-over on the back nine. She finished with a team-high five birdies on the day.
In her first postseason appearance, sophomore Trisha Witherby had two birdies and closed with a 3-over 75 (37-38).
"It's always good when you're not counting a 75," Slobodnik-Stoll said when speaking on the balance of the lineup in the first round. "And you have to do that here. Teams are posting really low scores and making a lot of birdies. We have to follow suit to end up where we want to be on Saturday in the final round. All five players in the lineup are playing well right now, which is fun to see as a coach."
Michigan State will tee off with North Carolina State and Texas Tech in Friday's second round at 12:50 p.m. ET from hole 10; live scoring will be available at Golfstat.com.