EAST LANSING - The 2017 Big Ten Champion Michigan State women’s golf team will begin the new season with a pair of events in Minnesota. The Spartans will meet the Minnesota Golden Gophers in match play on Saturday, Sept. 9, and then play in the Minnesota Invitational, Sept. 11-12.
With a third-place finish in the NCAA Athens Regional and the program’s fourth NCAA Championships appearance in the last six years, the Spartans ended 2017 on a high note. MSU returns every player from last year’s Big Ten championship squad, including Big Ten Player of the Year Sarah Burnham and Big Ten Freshman of the Year Allyson Geer. Burnham, a senior, and Geer, a sophomore, were named to this year’s Big Ten Golfers to Watch List along with senior Katie Sharp.
The Spartans enter the season ranked 16th in Golfweek’s preseason poll.
Saturday Match Play vs. Minnesota
The Spartans will meet the Gophers in match play at Spring Hill Golf Club in Wayzata at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday.
“It’s a great opportunity that was presented by Minnesota and a chance to play at tremendous course in Spring Hill,” said MSU head coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll. “It’s a great opportunity we couldn’t pass up.”
The Minnesota Invitational
The Spartans are making their first appearance in the Minnesota Invitational and taking their first trip to the state of Minnesota since the Lady Northern Invitational in 2000. Furman and Purdue tied for the Minnesota Invitational team title last season when the tournament was played at the Minikahda Club.
The Course and Schedule
The 54-hole Minnesota Invitational will be played at the par 72, 6,248-yard Prestwick Golf Club in Woodbury.
The Tournament will begin Monday at 8:45 a.m. ET with the teams playing 36 holes. The final round will be played Tuesday.
Live stats will be available via Golfstat here.
The Spartans will join Big Ten foes Minnesota, Purdue and Wisconsin along with Kansas, Kansas State, BYU, East Carolina, Georgia, USC, Virginia Tech, North Texas and Louisville. Georgia is ranked ninth in the Golfweek preseason top 30, while USC is 10th.
Coach Slobodnik-Stoll on the Tournament
“It will be a great test and we’re not afraid of testing our players. We feel like we have an incredible team this year and we’re happy to be able to bring Sarah Burnham back to her home state for a tournament.
“We’re looking forward to playing against some of the best teams in the country, proving ourselves and seeing what we’re made of. We’ve had great qualifying and it’s fun to see now what we can do in competition.”
The Spartans will bring six players on this weekend’s trip, including seniors Sarah Burnham and Katie Sharp; sophomores Paz Marfa Sans, Allyson Geer and Logan Otter; and freshman Yurika Tanida.
Yurika Tanida, the lone new face on the Spartan roster, will make her collegiate debut this weekend in Minnesota. The native of Kanagawa, Japan, was ranked No. 118 by the AJGA and No. 26 in the Class of 2017. Tanida, who enrolled at Michigan State in the summer, won the Midwest Collegiate Series with a 4-under-par 140 at Forest Akers West in late July and later teamed with Katie Sharp to win the GAM Four-Ball in mid-August.