Women’s Golf Finishes Tied for Fifth at NCAA National Championships
The Kent State University women’s golf team finished tied for fifth at the 2017 NCAA National Championship, falling Tuesday, May 23, in the quarterfinals match play round to top seeded Northwestern, 3-2.
The Kent State Golden Flashes completed its best run at the NCAA National Championship, beating its previous best finish of 15th place. Kent State also became the first program to ever advance to match play of the women’s golf championship from outside of the “Power 5” conferences.
“I’m very proud of these players,” said head coach Greg Robertson. “It’s disappointing to come this close, but we’ve come a long way with such a young team this year. I’m hoping this experience will get them motivated to work to get back here next year.”
Tuesday’s match play round went down to the wire and was ultimately decided on the 18th hole. Kent State picked up two victories from its fourth and fifth starters. Karoline Stormo was the first Flash to secure a point for Kent State, taking her matchup by three holes. Her par on the 16th hole secured the victory.
Pimnipa Panthong recorded the team’s second point in the final group to go off. Panthong was ahead by one after the 15th hole, but was stopped when the match was secured by Northwestern. Neither Stormo nor Panthong trailed all round.
Kelly Nielsen fell to Northwestern on the back nine, giving Northwestern a point while the remaining matches were tied 2-2. Kent State needed a win or tie from Michaela Finn or Wad Phaewchimplee, and both matches went down to the wire. Phaewchimplee entered the 17th hole trailing by two, but did not get the birdie needed to keep her round alive. Finn battled Northwestern’s Cho to the 18th hole, where she trailed by one stroke. Finn had a shot to force a tough putt for Northwestern, but came up just short in a comeback attempt.
The Flashes earned their quarterfinal spot after 54 holes of stroke play. Kent State ranked second among the 24 teams at Nationals for much of the tournament and went on to secure the eighth seed in match play.
Kent State ended its run through the NCAA National Championship by going down to the final hole against the top seed in the field. The Flashes end its season claiming the program’s all-time best finish and overall scoring average.
“This is huge for our program,” Robertson said. “This shows we are one of the top teams in the country. We’ll keep working and getting better. We have four players in the lineup coming back for at least two years. Being this close, we aren’t too far off from where we want to be.”