Sept. 18, 2008
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The No. 24 Michigan State women's golf team opens up the 2008-09 season when it hosts the 25th-annual Mary Fossum Invitational this Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 20-21) at the par 72, 6,237-yard Forest Akers West Golf Course on the campus of MSU. The Spartans are the defending champions and have won the fall tournament four of the past five years, having also captured the 2003 and 2005 Mary Fossum Invitationals and the 2006 Lady Northern Invitational.
"We feel great heading into the season," said head coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll. "The qualifying scores have been spectacular. Our team is competitive, driven and motivated, and wants to win a Big Ten Championship."
Although Michigan State lost Sara Brown, the program's career leader in scoring average, to graduation, the Spartans return four letterwinners from last season's team that earned a berth in the NCAA Regionals. Junior Laura Kueny looks to lead MSU after earning first-team All-Big Ten honors in 2008. Kueny had an outstanding summer, winning the Golf Association of Michigan (GAM) Women's Championship for the second straight year, while also advancing to the round of 16 at the Women's TRANS Amateur Championship. The Whitehall, Mich., native shot a tournament-record 214 last fall at the Fossum Invitational to claim medalist honors.
"I love playing at our home course," said Kueny. "The course is really nice and the greens are always in great shape. Obviously I've played it many times, so I'm comfortable out there."
Sophomore Aimee Neff is also coming off an excellent summer, as she won the Illinois Open by six strokes. Neff's scoring average of 76.35 last season was the lowest ever by a Spartan freshman.
"This year I'm a little more experienced," said Neff, who was a 2008 second-team All-Big Ten selection and placed 12th in her first Fossum Invitational. "Hopefully I can gain from what I learned last year in the tournament, be more calm and confident, and use that to my advantage."
In addition to Kueny and Neff, MSU's starting lineup for the Fossum will feature sophomore Michelle Bowles, sophomore Natalie Brehm and freshman Lindsey Solberg. Holly Niederkohr, Sarah Nirenberg, Jen Domagalski, Vanessa Leon and Maddi Massa will compete as individuals.
The 2008 Fossum Invitational features a field of 12 teams: Eastern Michigan, Ferris State, Iowa, Kent State, Michigan, MSU, Minnesota, Missouri, Notre Dame, Northwestern, Toledo and Western Michigan. Live scoring for the tournament will be available at www.golfstat.com. The tournament is 54 holes, with 36 on Saturday and 18 on Sunday. Play begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, 8:30 a.m. on Sunday.
"This tournament means so much to us," Slobodnik-Stoll said. "We get to showcase our team, our golf course and our staff who put on the tournament, but most importantly, it's a chance to showcase Mary Fossum. It's nice to have her there handing out the trophies. She is one of the pioneers of women's golf that we can thank for what women's golf is today."