May 15, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State senior Caroline Powers qualified for the 2013 U.S. Women's Open by winning a sectional qualifying tournament in Wheaton, Ill., at the Cantigny Golf Course on Tuesday with a score of 1-under-par 143 (71-72).
Powers, the 2013 Big Ten Women's Golfer of the Year, won the tournament by two strokes over Chelsea Harris, who also qualified.
The 2013 U.S. Women's Open will take place June 27-30 at the Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y.
"I don't think it's really set in yet," said Powers at Wednesday's practice at the Rearick Golf Complex. "It's really exciting. It's kind of surreal it's happening right off the bat (out of college). It's a perfect way to start off the pro career, so I'm looking forward to it."
"For any golfer to play in the U.S. Open is a dream come true," said MSU head coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll. "There were a lot of players there, a lot of good college players and a lot of pros, so it once again solidifies how good she is and what she's going to be able to do on tour. We thrilled she's going to be playing at Sebonack, which is an incredible golf course."
The last Spartan to play in the U.S. Women's Open was current junior Christine Meier, who qualified for the tournament last year. Former Spartan All-American Laura Kueny played in the 2010 U.S. Women's Open.
Powers, a three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, owns a 73.61 scoring average and has six top-10 finishes in MSU's 10 tournaments this season. She finished runner-up at the Big Ten Championships with a 3-over 219 and was named to the All-Championships Team for the third straight year. The Bowling Green, Ohio, native is ranked No. 30 in the nation by Golfweek and had the highest Golfweek/Sagarin rating in Big Ten competition with a 72.11.
Powers tied for first place at the Central District Invitational on Feb. 19 in Parrish, Fla., and also placed second at the Mary Fossum Invitational and the Mason Rudolph Championship in the fall. She leads the team in birdies (81) and has shot under-par in six rounds this season.
Powers has been named Big Ten Golfer of the Week three times this season and six times in her career, which is third most in conference history.
With a career scoring average of 74.23, Powers is on pace to own the lowest average in school history (Kueny, 74.60). She has placed in the top five in 14 career tournaments and in the top 10 on 21 occasions, including three tournament victories (2011 Lady Buckeye Invitational, 2011 Mary Fossum Invitational, 2012 Central District Invitational).
Powers also has the top-three season averages in school history (MSU record 73.53 in 2010-11; 73.61 this season; 73.78 in 2012-13). She placed sixth at the 2011 NCAA Championships, the highest ever by a Spartan at nationals, and is the third Spartan to be named the Big Ten Golfer of the Year (Emily Bastel, 2002; Kueny, 2010).
Michigan State returns to action for the NCAA Championships May 21-24 at the University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens, Ga.