Women’s Golf ends season with all-time best finish

Alex Cossin

Kent State women’s golf tied for fifth place May 23 at the NCAA Championship in Sugar Grove, Illinois, after a 3-2 loss to top-seeded Northwestern University — the best all-time finish for the women’s team, topping its previous best finish of 15th place.

“It was definitely our team goal to be the top team in the field,” said senior Wad Phaewchimplee. “I was very happy that we made it that far because it was the best finish we ever did as a team at the NCAA Championship.”

The women advanced to the quarterfinals on May 22 after securing the eighth seed in match play of the NCAA Championship, the first time since 2010.

Kent State ultimately lost in match play, however, with freshman Karoline Stormo and freshman Pimnipa Panthong (CQ), each securing a point for the Flashes.

 “I’m proud of being a part of this great program, and I think that now that we have got the confirmation that we are just as good as anyone else, there is no limit of how far we can go next year,” said sophomore Michaela Finn.

Stormo earned her point for the Flashes after her par on the 16th hole, giving her the three-hole lead she needed to win.

Panthong’s point came on the 15th hole after officials ended the game due to Northwestern securing its third point to win the match.

Panthong was also named to the Women’s Golf Coaches Association All-American Second Team, the Kent State golfer to earn higher than an honorable mention. 

Sophomore Kelly Nielsen had a hard start to the quarterfinals, giving up a stroke on the second, third and fourth holes, leading to a three stroke deficit entering the fifth hole. Nielsen lost her matchup on the 13th hole, giving her opponent the six stroke lead needed to win.

Phaewchimplee tied her opponent on three separate occasions — on the fourth, seventh and tenth holes. She ultimately lost to Northwestern’s Hannah Kim with a three-hole deficit by the 17th hole.

“My strength was ball-striking,” Phaewchimplee said. “I hit a lot more fairways than (Kim) did, but I couldn’t make putts as much as she did. I would not say that putting was my weakness of that day, but it was definitely (kim)’s strength. That really had a positive impact on her game.”

Sophomore Michaela Finn was the only golfer to play to the 18th hole where she lost to her opponent by two strokes.

 “I made a few mistakes during the round that I think I should have been taking advantage of even more,” Finn said. “She was a really good ball-striker with her irons, and usually, I am too but not as strong that day, which poured me under pressure.”

Alex Cossin is a sports reporter, contact him at [email protected].