The tradition continues as women’s golf wins 13th straight MAC title

Rachel Jones

The Kent State women’s golf team boasts a winning tradition at the Mid-American Conference Championship, having previously won it since the inaugural competition in 1999.

But with dreary weather and an ambitious Eastern Michigan team edging in on their its — or grass — during the second round of this weekend’s tournament, Kent State coach Mike Morrow said the Flashes were feeling the pressure.

“Yesterday, Eastern Michigan picked up quite a few strokes on us,” Morrow said. “It was close, so it was a lot more pressure and more exciting.”

Morrow said while it was thrilling to see that the competition is getting better and making the tournament closer, he felt better when the Flashes closed in on the Eagles and picked up their 13th consecutive MAC Championship.

“It’s a relief, and I’m proud of the players,” Morrow said. “They were able to accomplish one of our goals.”

With their first place gap narrowing on Saturday, Morrow said he needed the golfers to step up and bring home the win.

And they did, with all five Kent State players finishing in the top 13.

Senior Sarah Bradley led the Flashes with a third-place finish.

“It was awesome,” Bradley said. “But it could’ve been any of the five of us. All of us have the strength to play well, and our team was playing well (Sunday).”

Bradley said she was feeling positive about her game during the beginning of the tournament but felt like she wasn’t finishing strong enough at the end of each round.

To make up for it, she decided to finish the championship strong, playing a solid third round.

“Sarah really stepped up today,” Morrow said. “That was really instrumental in getting a lead.”

But she did make a mistake on her second-to-last hole, making her nervous about how it would affect her position against her competition.

Nerves aside, Bradley said she tried to focus on making the most out of each of her strokes instead of worrying about the other golfers and tried to stay positive.

“She’s upbeat, has high energy and really knows how to play the game,” Morrow said. “She’s a great course manager and plays right into her strengths.”

Bradley utilized those strengths to help the Flashes earn a victory at what she calls “one of the most fun tournaments.”

Although the Flashes are known as the team to beat in the MAC Championship, Bradley said the competition is always intense and was even tighter this year.

She said it’s exciting to come in as the team everyone else is eyeing up, and it’s even better when opponents’ assumptions come true.

“It feels good to pull through and come out on top,” Bradley said. “Golf’s the type of sport where there are a lot of ups and downs, so doing well at something like this is reassuring.”

It was also comforting for the senior to share her final MAC Championship victory with teammates she said she has grown to love over the course of her college career.

“Because we’re all such good friends, it’s awesome to go up (and get the championship trophy together) and give each other the thumbs up like, ‘Yeah, we won it.’”

Contact Rachel Jones at [email protected].