Women's Golf Opens Season by Hosting Mary Fossum Invitational This Weekend
Sept. 13, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The two-time defending Big Ten Champion Michigan State women's golf team opens the 2012-13 season this weekend (Saturday-Sunday) by hosting the 29th annual Mary Fossum Invitational at Forest Akers West on the campus of MSU.
The Spartans welcome back four starters from last season's Big Ten title team that also qualified for the NCAA Regionals for the 14th straight season and advanced to the NCAA Championships, including honorable mention All-American and first-team All-Big Ten selection Caroline Powers. Liz Nagel, who earned second-team All-Big Ten accolades, is back for her junior season, while two-year starters Allyssa Ferrell and Christine Meier also return to the lineup.
Powers, Nagel and Ferrell were all named Big Ten Golfers to Watch entering the season, while Powers was also named one of the top 50 players in the nation to watch by Golf World.
The Spartans have won their home tournament seven out of the last nine years, with victories in the 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011 Mary Fossum Invitationals, and the 2006 Lady Northern Invitational. Overall, MSU has won the Mary Fossum Invitational nine times.
"It's great to be able to showcase Mary and what she's done for women's golf," said MSU head coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll. "I think so many times our players go to tournaments and it's named after someone, and they have no idea what that person did for golf, or who that person is. So we really try to instill in our players what Mary has done, not only for Michigan State women's golf, but just for the history of golf, and what she did to really get things going as a pioneer...Just having her there handing out the trophies is so much fun, especially when it's to the Spartans."
The 2012 Mary Fossum Invitational features 16 teams, including Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, Ferris State, Kent State, Louisiana-Monroe, Miami (Fla.), Michigan, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Oakland, Purdue, Texas State, Toledo, Western Michigan and Wisconsin, in addition to the host Spartans. The tournament, which will be 36 holes on Saturday and 18 holes on Sunday, begins with a shotgun start on Saturday at 9 a.m. and Sunday at 8:30 a.m.
Michigan State will field two teams for the Fossum Invitational. Powers, Ferrell, Meier, Jenny Sritragul and Trisha Witherby qualified for the starting lineup, while Nagel, Lindsey McPherson, Carley Saint-Onge, Yushira Budhram and Mariah Massa will play for the second team. Mackenzie Johnson, Bea Murray and Soleil Singh will play as individuals.
"It's certainly been a very exciting two weeks of qualifying for us," Slobodnik-Stoll said. "We had so many players that were in the mix.
"It was amazing; we averaged from 71 to 75 (qualifying), players one through eight this year, which is the lowest in the 17 years of my coaching career. We have depth this year. The camaraderie and competition is great - that's what is going to make them all better."
Powers enters her senior season at MSU in 2012-13 with the lowest career scoring average in program history at 74.39. She had another successful summer, qualifying for both the U.S. Women's Amateur and the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship. In July, Powers placed third at the World University Games in Liberec, Czech Republic, with a four-round total of 11-under 277 (72-69-68-68) and helped the United States to a second-place finish in the 16-team field.
This past season, Powers led the team with a 73.78 scoring average and finished the season ranked 32nd in the nation by Golfweek. Powers' scoring average of 73.53 in 2010-11 was a MSU single-season record, and her average in 2011-12 was second best in school history. She has won the Alderton Award, given to the top female athlete at Michigan State, the past two years.
Powers, a native of Bowling Green, Ohio, won the Fossum Invitational last season with a 217. She placed third at the Fossum as a sophomore in 2010 and 14th as a freshman in 2009.
"It's pretty special to be here," said Powers. "We play at Forest Akers all the time, so to have teams come and see where we play and practice, along with family members and some best friends come out and watch us is really fun because it makes you feel like you're on your own turf. Playing in tournaments, we don't get that very often, so it makes this weekend extra exciting."
Ferrell has started in 19 career tournaments her first two seasons and was fourth on the team with a 76.65 average last season. Over the summer, she qualified for the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship and advanced to the round of 16 in match play.
"We're ready to live up to them," Ferrell said on the high expectations the team has entering the season after winning back-to-back Big Ten Championships. "It's a new season, and now we need to look at this one. I think our team is really strong this year. Qualifying was really intense - it hasn't been like that in a long time."
Meier, who will also be entering her third year in the starting lineup, became the first Spartan to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open while still in school since Allison Fouch in 2003. Meier qualified for the 2012 U.S. Open after taking second place at the Fox Chapel Golf Course in Pittsburgh on May 30 with a 151 (74-77), earning one of two automatic spots at her qualifying event by defeating Samantha Swinehart of South Carolina in a playoff that went two holes. In addition, Meier tied for 21st at the Michigan PGA Women's Open, placing sixth among amateurs, advanced to the quarterfinals of the Michigan Women's Amateur, and tied for third at the GAM Championships.
Sritragul won MSU's "Best First-Year Player Award" in 2011-12 after leading all newcomers on the team with a 79.60 scoring average. She started in four tournaments, including the 2012 Big Ten Championships.
Nagel had a breakthrough season in 2011-12 and garnered second-team All-Big Ten honors. She started in nine tournaments and was third on the team with a 75.93 scoring average. The DeWitt, Mich., product got hot late in the season, including a fourth-place finish at the Lady Buckeye Invitational in April, and continued that momentum into the summer. She claimed stroke-play medalist honors at the Michigan Women's Amateur with a 145 (68-77) and advanced all the way to the semifinals of the 32-person match play bracket, placed seventh and took home top amateur honors at the Michigan PGA Women's Open with a 221 (75-74-72), and took second with a 145 (73-72) at the GAM Championship, held at the Port Huron Golf Club in August. Nagel also teamed up with Trisha Witherby to tie for fifth place with a 2-over 290 at the Pure Silk Women's Team Collegiate Championship.
Live scoring of the 2012 Mary Fossum Invitational will be available at golfstat.com.
ABOUT MARY FOSSUM:
Under Fossum's guidance, the Spartans won an unprecedented five straight Big Ten titles from 1974-78 and played in six consecutive AIAW National Championships (1973-78). The Spartans regained the conference crown in 1982 and played in the 1982 and 1984 NCAA Championships. MSU claimed its third conference runner-up spot under Fossum at the 1987 Big Ten Championship.
Those accomplishments led to recognition of Fossum as one of the country's best collegiate golf coaches. She was honored as the first-ever NCAA Midwest Region Coach of the Year in 1984 and was inducted into the Golf Coaches Hall of Fame in 1988.
In 1999, Michigan State's annual fall women's golf tournament was renamed the Mary Fossum Invitational. In January of 1998, Fossum was honored by the College Golf Foundation with the Rolex/Gladys Palmer Meritorious Service Award for outstanding service and contributions to collegiate women's golf. She was inducted into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame on Sept. 27, 2003. In 2007, the Big Ten named its award for the women's golfer with the lowest stroke-average to par in a season the Mary Fossum Award.
A native of Green Bay, Wis., Fossum won the Wisconsin women's golf championship in 1945, 1946 and 1947. One of the many highlights of her career was her match-play victory over Mildred (Babe) Didrikson-Zaharias in the 1946 Women's Western Amateur semifinals. Fossum was inducted in 1990 into the Wisconsin Golf Hall of Fame, making her only the fifth woman to achieve that distinction.
Fossum also was involved at the national level, serving as a member of the NCAA golf committee which guides the national development and administration of women's collegiate golf.
29TH ANNUAL FOSSUM INVITATIONAL QUICK FACTS
at the official