Flashes start spring strong at MAC Match Play Challenge

Members of the Kent State women’s golf team pose after starting their spring season with a victory at the Mid-American Conference Match Play Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, at Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.

Amanda Levine

Kent State women’s golf finished 12-3 for the tournament, earning the Mid-American Match Play championship with a 3-2 victory over Florida Gulf Coast Tuesday.

Michaela Finn, Chloe Salort and Pimnipa Panthong went undefeated in the tournament.

“Having three players go undefeated in our matches this week was good to see,” coach Greg Robertson said. “That’s going to be a great field, and it will give us a good feel for where we are at this point of the season.”

Finn, a senior from Ängelholm, Sweden, won 3-and-2 over the Eagles’ Ashley Kimbrough in her final round of the tournament. Finn said she was happy with how she played, and her goal for the season is to “play better than (she) did the season before.”

Kent State got off to a good start with a 4-1 win against North Carolina-Asheville, advancing to play Western Michigan in the semifinals.

The Flashes defeated the Broncos with a dominating 5-0 win to move on to the championship round.

“Overall, it was a good first week for us, coming away with a win and going 12-3 overall,” Robertson said. “With this being our first tournament, we definitely have some things to work on, but I saw a lot of things that we can move forward with and feel good about.”

Salort, a freshman from Ermont, France, was among the three players to go undefeated in the tournament. The World Amateur Golf Rankings recently ranked Salort 83rd in the world after the match. In an interview last week, assistant coach Maddi Swaney said Salort will add more depth to their lineup.

“Having (Salort) added on to the team brings more competitiveness to the lineup,” Swaney said. “The more competitive our lineup, the better our team is going to get.”

The team has won 19 conference titles since its inaugural season in 1998 and is looking to continue that success this year after being ranked 15th in the country, according to NCAA’s women’s golf rankings.

“We never really talk about winning,” Swaney said, “We want to continue to take this team to new heights.”

Swaney said she is excited to see where the team ends up this spring.

“I know that they want to continue,” Swaney said. “They have the same goals that we have: (to) continue to keep us on the national map.”

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