EAST LANSING - Coming off their best performance of the season the last time out, the Michigan State women's golf team will return to action in South Carolina for the Clemson Invitational, March 31 -- April 2. The tournament will be played at the Reserve at Lake Keowee in Sunset, South Carolina, with shotgun starts slated for 8 a.m. all three days.
"Last weekend was huge - we got some much-needed confidence," MSU head coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll said. "We know how talented this group is and what their capabilities and possibilities are and we finally showed a little bit of it.
"Katie Sharp is the defending champion, so she's obviously pumped to go there and play. Carolyn Markley and Sarah Burnham both like the course, so we're looking forward to it and the challenge it presents. We really need to play well to be where we want to be for NCAA Regional selection day."
Another competitive field awaits the Spartans this weekend as three of the 17 teams are ranked in the top 10 of the latest Golfweek/Saragin Rankings, while seven are ranked in the top 30. The Spartans will join host Clemson along with Columbia, No. 5 Florida, No. 4 Florida State, No. 8 Furman, Houston, Louisville, Mississippi State, No. 28 Ohio State, Oklahoma, No. 22 Tennessee, No. 18 Texas A&M, No. 27 Texas, Tulane, UNC Wilmington and Vanderbilt.
The Reserve at Lake Keowee is a par-72, 6,253-yard course designed by Jack Nicklaus. Each team will have five golfers with the best four scores counting toward the team score.
Clemson Invitational History
The Spartans made their presence known at the inaugural event last season as Katie Sharp captured medalist honors, helping MSU to a third place showing. Sharp shot an 8-under-par 208 (68-70-70), tied for the second-lowest 54-hole total in school history. She entered the final round in a three-way tie for first place, but pulled away for a two-stroke victory.
As a team, MSU placed ahead of six teams in the Golfstat Top 50 with an even-par 864 (287-292-285). The 54-hole total of 864 also tied for the third-best tournament score ever in program history.
The Last Time Out: Briar's Creek Invitational
The Spartans put together their best performance of the season at the Briar's Creek Invitational, March 20-21 in John's Island, S.C. The Spartans shot an 8-over-par 872 (288-296-288) to take sixth place in the 18-team field that included 10 teams in the Golfstat Top 50.
The Spartans' team total (872) and the first and third round totals (288) were their best scores of the season.
Katie Sharp led all Spartans with a season best 1-under-par 215 (72-74-69) to take eighth place.
Notes and Numbers
Sarah Burnham leads MSU with 64 birdies and is averaging 3.1 birdies per round ... Allyson Geer's hole-in-one in the second round of the Briar's Creek Invitational was the first by a Spartan since Jordyn Wells in 2008 ... Geer had three eagles -- one in each round -- at the Briar's Creek Invitational ... Burnham leads the Spartans with eight rounds under par.