Seventh-ranked women’s golf team learned to ‘finish strong’ in fall


The Kent State Golf Course on Jan. 27, 2016.

Chris Yamnitsky

The second round at the Minnesota tournament had not been good to the Kent State women’s golf team.

The Flashes had been in second place after the first round but shot a +21 in the second round to fall to seventh.

Coach Greg Robertson sat his women down and repeated the team’s motto for the season: Finish strong.

The Flashes went on to finish fourth in the tournament. From then on, the team finished strong every week — so strong they ended the fall ranked seventh in the country.

“Last year, we let a lot of tournaments slip away. A lot of this comes back to junior Wad Phaewchimplee and seniors Josée Doyon and Taylor Kim. It was about them buying into what we were talking about and we’ve talked a lot more about it this year than we did in the past,” Robertson said. “Those few players stepping up and doing their job when the time came, I think, is probably the biggest reason we were able to turn out motto into a reality.”

Kim said the team’s motto helped bring them together and made for one great fall season that she thinks can continue on through the rest of the season.

“I know golf is more of an individual sport, but our teamwork was really outstanding,” Kim said. “I think we will be able to carry that over to next semester and just have fun with the game.”

Along with the motto being the driving force behind the women’s strong finish, the experience of the returning players and the leadership they brought to the team gave them a great chance to do something big this year, Robertson said.  

“With the returners … they’ve all come back and been great leaders. They lead by example and showed the younger players how we do things,” Robertson said. “I think they really bought into what coach Maddie Swaney and I want to get done. That is probably the main reason for what we have done so far.”

Preparation is key in any sport to be successful, but to the women of the Kent State golf team, it is where their success lies. 

“I feel that this is not really a surprise because we saw everyone working hard,” Phaewchimplee said. “We’ve been doing better and better and right now, its just like everyone clicked at the same time. We’ve been working really hard, so we just need to continue doing the good things.”

The No. 7 golf team returns to play in early February in the Mid-American Match Play in Bradenton, Florida. The women will be heading for their 18th consecutive Mid-American Conference championship, which will be a new record for the conference.

But with a national ranking comes the challenge of keeping that spot and moving forward with the momentum they have gained so far this season. Robertson said that is one of the toughest things for the team to get through heading into the spring season.

“That’s always, kind of, the tricky part,” Robertson said. “There’s an excitement right now with where we stand and what we could possibly do. I think they are going to stay motivated (and) want to continue to play well and do some great things by the end of the year. And if you have a team where that motivation comes from (the players) and not necessarily from the coaches, then you are in good shape. We just got to keep it going.”

Chris Yamnitsky is a sport’s reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].