Kent State women’s golf team in one word: Consistent

Coach Greg Robertson poses for a portrait with the MAC championship trophy and his team at Silver Lake Country Club on Sunday, April 23, 2017, after Kent State won its 19th consecutive championship. [FILE]

Maddie Dolan

So far this season, the Kent State women’s golf team has been nothing short of consistent. 

The Flashes have won two championships without having a “superstar.” Two players have placed in the top 10 in both of the tournaments this year. No player has finished outside of the top 50.

The Flashes are currently ranked No. 13 in the Women’s Golf Coaches Association poll and No. 18 in Golfweek.

They finished in a tie for fifth at the NCAA National Championship the last two years.

Coach Greg Robertson has nothing but nice things to say about every member of his team.

“I think it’s about the standards they’ve set for themselves and the work they put into it,” Robertson said. “They work extremely hard, and they’ve bought into our vision for them as their coaches.

“The players who are really driven go way above and beyond what we ask them to do. It has gotten so competitive now that if they don’t keep the drive, they will get passed up. They can’t really take a break, or someone who is working harder will pass them up.”

Junior Karoline Stormo said the competition among team members brings out the best in the players.

“It makes people work harder and play smarter to make the team,” Stormo said. “All the players get along really well, so we always have fun practicing and traveling, which helps.”

The older players encourage the younger members to join them so they can not only practice, but bond.

“The younger golfers are very good, and we are all like a family.” junior Pimnipa Panthong said. “I am always asking them if they want to join me when I go practice on my own. I try to encourage them and help them whenever they ask for it.”

Stormo said that she the younger members to put in extra work.  

“Very few people know how much work you actually have to put in to be one of the top schools in the country,” she said.

Practices are designed to keep the team steady.

“We do some things in practice on a consistent basis ­— wedges, bunker play, and short game work,” Roberston said. “We do some different things when we work in those areas. We stress a lot in course management, managing yourself around the golf course and the layout of the golf course. We practice those things when we are at home when we qualify.”

Junior Marissa Kirkwood has been one of the most improved players.

“She was in and out of the lineup the first two years, and this year so far she has our third-lowest average in tournament play and qualifying,” Robertson said. “She’s shot numerous under-pars, and she’s finally starting to put everything together. She’s always been a very hard worker. She had a good summer and that has probably helped her carry over confidence into this fall.

“She has learned a lot in the last two years. Being around players like Pimnipa Panthong, Michaela Finn and Karoline Stormo helps her because she’s playing around some of the best players in the world when she comes to practice every day.”

Robertson leads the recruiting process himself to make sure the team continues to gain talent.

“We go all over the world to recruit,” Robertson said. “I went to Thailand to recruit Pimnipa Panthong. We go to Europe twice a year to recruit, but this year we actually went three times.”

The team’s next tournament is Monday and Tuesday at the Illini Women’s Invitational in Medinah, Illinois.

Maddie Dolan is a sports reporter. Contact her [email protected]