No. 23 Spartan Women's Golf Ready to Defend Big Ten Title
April 26, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - After winning the program's ninth Big Ten title last year, the No. 23 Michigan State women's golf team is ready to defend its conference crown at the 2012 Big Ten Championships this weekend (Friday-Saturday, April 27-29).
French Lick Resort, located in southern Indiana, will be the site of this year's tournament. The resort was awarded the Big Ten Men's and Women's Golf Championships in 2012, 2013, and 2014; it marks the first time that both the men and women will compete at the same time and on a neutral site.
The women's championships will be held on the historic Donald Ross Course, which will play to a par 72, 6,156-yard format. Golfweek Magazine recently ranked the Ross course No. 2 among the "Best Courses You Can Play" rankings in the state of Indiana.
The Spartans, who have placed in the top-three at the Big Ten Championships for eight consecutive seasons, defeated three-time defending champion Purdue by five strokes last year at the Lake Shore Country Club in Glencoe, Ill. MSU shot a four-round total of 1180, the best 72-hole score for the program at the Big Ten Championships.
This season, the tournament has been changed to three rounds (54 holes). MSU will tee off with Ohio State and Purdue on hole No. 1 beginning at 9 a.m. on Friday.
Michigan State enters the Big Ten Championships ranked No. 23 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. The Spartans are coming off a second-place showing at last weekend's Lady Buckeye Invitational, including fourth-place finishes by junior Caroline Powers and red-shirt sophomore Liz Nagel.
Powers, a first-team All-Big Ten selection as a sophomore, is one of four returning golfers in the lineup this weekend from last season's Big Ten Championship team. Senior Lindsey Solberg and sophomores Allyssa Ferrell and Christine Meier were also in the starting lineup in 2011.
Nagel and freshman Jenny Sritragul will be making their first career appearances at the Big Ten Championships.
Powers, who set the MSU single-season scoring average record last season at 73.53, currently leads the team with a 73.89 average this season. The Bowling Green, Ohio, native paced the Spartans with a fourth-place finish at last year's Big Ten Championships and finished 16th as a freshman in 2009.
A two-time All-Big Ten second-team selection, Solberg led the charge for MSU's during last year's title run, compiling three straight birdies on holes 15-17 and a par on No. 18 to close out with a 2-under 70 in the final round. Solberg finished the tournament in fifth place at 6-over 294 (78-75-71-70) and was named to the Big Ten All-Championship Team. She had a team-best six birdies in the final round. Solberg took 20th as a freshman in 2009 and 22nd as a sophomore in 2010 in her previous Big Ten Championships appearances.
Solberg is third on the team in 2011-12 with a 76.07 scoring average.
Ferrell and Meier, both playing as true freshmen last year, stepped up when needed on the final day with rounds of 72. Ferrell registered third birdies on the front nine, while Meier had two birdies on the day, including one on the par-5 18th. Ferrell finished tied for 29th at 309 (77-86-74-72) and Meier tied for 32nd at 310 (83-79-76-72).
This season, Ferrell owns a scoring average of 76.75, while Meier is at 76.83.
Nagel has been playing the most consistent golf of her career heading into the Big Ten Championships. She has led or tied for the team lead in the past three tournaments, including a career-low score of 216 at the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic in Athens, Ga., to tie for 13th. She also tied for 30th at the Bryan National Collegiate in addition to her fourth-place showing at the Lady Buckeye Invitational last weekend. Overall, Nagel is second on the team with a 75.83 average through 18 rounds (six starts).
Sritragul, a true freshman, placed a career-best 25th at the Lady Buckeye Invitational. She has started in three tournaments this season and has compiled a 78.58 average.
Spartan head coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll, who is in her 15th season, has led the Spartans to 13 straight NCAA Regional appearances, (1999-2011), seven trips to the NCAA Championships, (2000-03, 2005, 2007, 2009) and three Big Ten titles (2001, 2007, 2011). In addition, Michigan State has won 29 tournaments during that span, including four during the 2000-01 season and three in 1998-99, 2001-02, 2003-04, 2007-08 and 2009-10. Her success earned her Big Ten Coach of the Year honors in 2001 and 2007, along with being named Midwest Region Coach of the Year in 1999.
Live scoring of the 2012 Big Ten Championships will be available on www.golfstat.com; a tape-delayed broadcast will air on BTN on Sunday, May 13 at 11 a.m.
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