Flashes battle elements to finish fourth in rain-soaked Dickson tournament

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]

Amanda Levine

Pimnipa Panthong tied for fourth place, the only Kent State golfer to finish in the top 10, as the Flashes came in fourth place out of 17 teams at The Dickson.

Closely behind Panthong was Karoline Stormo, who tied for 21st place with 10 other golfers.

Panthong led the Flashes with four birdies, followed by Kory Nielsen with three and Stormo with two. The Flashes combined to have 13 birdies on the day.

The Flashes finished fourth in the tournament Tuesday after playing only 18 holes. The tournament was originally scheduled as a two-day, 54-hole event with 36 holes in the first day, but the first two rounds were cancelled due to wet conditions.  

In an interview last week, coach Greg Robertson said during practice the team is working on “getting outside and getting a feel for the grass because it’s a lot different than the artificial grass.”

“Everybody has their own practice plan,” Robertson said. “They all do something different and have their own needs.”

Kent State finished behind Clemson, Purdue and Texas A&M in the day-long event. All three universities are currently ranked lower than the Flashes in the college women’s golf rankings.

There were a total of 17 schools hosted by the University of Houston, eight of which are in the top 50 in the NCAA rankings. Prior to the tournament, the Flashes moved up in the NCAA rankings from No. 22 to No. 16 in the country.

The Flashes lineup consisted of the same athletes to play in the Lady Puerto Rico Classic earlier in February: Panthong, Stormo, Nielsen, Chloe Salort and Michaela Finn. All five players finished within the top 50 golfers in the event.

Salort had back-to-back birdies and tied for 38th with 10 other players. Finn struggled in the beginning after a triple bogey, but she was able to finish the rest of the day strong.

“Every day they are working on every part of the game,” Robertson said. Each individual focuses on a wide range of skills: ball striking, wedge game and working on specialty shots.

Last year, Kent State finished second in The Dickson behind Florida State. This year, the Flashes finished two spots ahead of the Seminoles and are currently ranked higher than them in the NCAA rankings.

Kent State looks to continue its success in the BYU at Entrada Classic hosted by Brigham Young University. The tournament kicks off March 13 in a two-day event in St. George, Utah.

Amanda Levine is a sports reporter. Contact her at [email protected]