Feb. 7, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State women's golf team, ranked No. 24 by Golfweek and No. 20 by Golfstat, opens the spring season Feb. 9-11 (Sunday-Tuesday) at the Regional Challenge, held at the Palos Verdes Country Club in Palos Verdes, Calif. Live scoring of the tournament, which is being hosted by Ohio State, will be available at Golfstat.com.
"I think I echo our whole entire team and probably most teams in the country right now, but we're really excited to get going," said MSU head coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll. "We had that great four-day practice in Florida (last month) which was really beneficial and now it's finally time. The kids are ready to go, and with the new NCAA rules, we're going to get two really nice days of practice in before we actually compete, and that should be really, really helpful for us. I can't say the word `excited' enough."
The elite 16-team Regional Challenge field features 11 teams ranked in the top 25 of the Golfweek rankings, including seven in the top 10.
"When you look at the field, I think it's going to be probably one of the toughest fields of the entire year next to the national championship," said Slobodnik-Stoll said. "That's exactly why we play and we do look forward to putting ourselves in place to win every week. We're going to do the best that we can, and I think that, again, this tournament has so many of the strongest teams. It's an incredible field. All we can ask of our Spartans is that they do the best they can every day, learn from our mistakes, and celebrate the good things that we do and all of the joys that we have out there."
The Spartans had a successful fall season while playing the nation's 25th-toughest schedule, winning the Mary Fossum Invitational on their home course, Forest Akers West, on Sept. 15, and placing sixth at the Landfall Tradition in Wilmington, N.C., and ninth at the Mason Rudolph Championship in Franklin, Tenn. MSU also participated in the Tar Heel Invitational during the fall portion of its schedule.
Senior Liz Nagel leads the team with a 72.42 scoring average, which ranks No. 50 in the nation. Nagel claimed medalist honors at the Mary Fossum Invitational and was named the Big Ten and National Golfer of the Week following her victory.
Nagel tied her career low with a 4-under 68 in the final round of the Landfall Tradition to vault into a tie for fourth place overall. It marked the third time in her career and second this season she has shot a 68. Nagel placed in the top five in three of MSU's four tournaments this fall (medalist at Mary Fossum Invitational; tied for fifth at Mason Rudolph Championship).
Senior Allyssa Ferrell ranks second on the team with a 74.83 scoring average; she placed a season-best sixth at the Mary Fossum Invitational.
2014 REGIONAL CHALLENGE QUICK FACTS
Dates: Feb. 9-11 (Sunday-Tuesday)
Site: Palos Verdes, Calif.
Course: Palos Verdes Golf Club
Format: 3 days (18-18-18=54), play 5, count 4
Participating teams (16): No. 12 Arizona, No. 7 Arizona State, No. 60 Baylor, No. 3 Duke, No. 18 Florida, No. 24 Michigan State, No. 28 North Carolina, No. 33 Ohio State, No. 8 Oklahoma, No. 11 Oklahoma State, No. 6 Pepperdine, No. 64 Texas, No. 1 UCLA, No. 2 USC, No. 27 Wake Forest, No. 4 Washington (rankings by Golfweek)
Live Scoring: www.golfstat.com
REGIONAL CHALLENGE TOURNAMENT HISTORY
2013 Champions: Team: UCLA (870)
Individual: Erynne Lee (UCLA, 213)
Past Champions: UCLA (4), Pepperdine (3), Arizona (2), Arizona State (2), Tulsa (2), USC (2), Georgia (1), San Jose State (1), Stanford (1)