Sept. 13, 2009
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EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State women's golf team captured the Mary Fossum Invitational title Sunday afternoon at Forest Akers West Golf Course, outlasting seventh-ranked Purdue by three strokes, 875 to 878. The 20th-ranked Spartans entered the final round trailing the Boilermakers by six strokes, but rallied to win the 26th annual tournament after shooting for a team score of 293 on Sunday.
The win marks MSU's fifth straight victory and sixth in the last seven years in its home tournament at Forest Akers West. The Spartans also claimed the 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2008 Mary Fossum Invitationals and the 2006 Lady Northern Invitational.
"I think we're in a real exciting place right now as a team," said MSU women's golf head coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll. "This group is really fun to watch and the future is very bright."
MSU was led by sophomore Shannon Warner, who tied for third with an even-par 216 (72-73-71). She shot a career-best 71 in the final round to move up eight spots on the leaderboard, including a key birdie on hole 17 that extended the Spartans' lead to three shots.
The Spartans led by as many as five shots in the final round, but Purdue closed the gap to two strokes with three holes remaining before Warner hit her birdie. Warner collected four birdies on the day and 11 for the tournament.
"Shannon played excellent," said Slobodnik-Stoll. "She's a sophomore now, which means she's a little older and a little more mature. She had so many different experiences and emotions last year, and she was so helpful at the end to get us to where we ended up, which was second at Big Ten's and 13th at nationals. She dedicated herself over the summer to step it up a notch athletically and academically, and I think she did that with her performance this weekend."
Playing as an individual, fellow sophomore Lindsey Solberg also tied for third for Michigan State. Solberg carded an even-par 72 on Sunday. The Verona, Wis., native had success at last year's Fossum Invitational as well, tying for second in her first collegiate tournament.
"That's why you play sports and what makes it fun," Slobodnik-Stoll said of the finish. "We knew it was close and we needed a few birdies, and we had a couple of players we thought were struggling a little bit, so we needed the players that were playing good to hold on. Then you're looking at Lindsey (Solberg), and wondering if she was in the mix, but that's what happens when you have individuals. But I think overall, when you look at the scores that we posted, it was very impressive. I think we could have filled those five spots with a number of combinations and we still would have been successful today."
Senior Laura Kueny, playing in her last home tournament, delivered her 15th career top-10 finish, placing ninth with a 3-over 219 (70-71-78).
Junior Aimee Neff finished in the top 10 for the seventh time in her career, tying for 10th place with a 4-over 220 (75-73-72). Neff had her best round of the tournament on Sunday with an even-par 72, including three birdies.
In her first collegiate tournament, true freshman Caroline Powers tied for 14th place. After shooting a 74 and 77 in her first two rounds, Powers produced a 72 on Sunday to finish at 223.
Natalie Brehm rounded out MSU's starting lineup with a three-round total of 228 (73-76-79).
Five other Spartans competed as individuals in the tournament: Michelle Bowles (79-75-79--233), Maddi Massa (81-78-75--234), Jen Domagalski (81-77-77--235), Sarah Nirenberg (86-85-92--263) and Ashley Dewling (90-93-90--273).
James Madison's Nicole Sakamoto won medalist honors by carding a 2-under 214 (75-69-70) for the tournament.
In the tournament's 26-year history, Michigan State has won the Fossum Invitational eight times. It also marks the 24th tournament Coach Slobodnik-Stoll has won as a coach. MSU won the Lady Northern Invitational in 2006, which was played instead of the Fossum Invitational that fall as a preview to the Big Ten Championships.
Michigan State returns to action for the Lady Northern Invitational held in Madison, Wis., on Sept. 27-28.