Women’s golf looks to continue momentum at Mercedes Benz Championship

Brad Tansey

Fresh off a second-place finish at the Notre Dame Invitational last week, the Kent State women’s golf team will compete in the 14th Annual Mercedes Benz Championship in Knoxville, Tenn., today.

“We are going to tee off with the idea that we have a very good opportunity to win the tournament,” Kent State coach Mike Morrow said. “We have to have that mindset.”

The trip to the Volunteer State will be the Flashes’ eighth straight. Last season, the Flashes turned in their best performance, finishing fourth overall. Host team Tennessee is the defending champion.

Morrow said the key to victory this weekend is “good golf course management.”

“It’s a matter of just playing the golf course and being smart,” he said. “That sets you up for success.”

No. 19 Kent State will face 14 other teams, five of which are ranked in the top 50 in the Golf World/National Golf Coaches Association poll.

2010 Mercedes Benz Championship

Top 5 teams

1. Notre Dame (14th)

2. Arkansas (18th)

3. Kent State (19th)

4. Tennessee (36th)

5. TCU (23)

Top 5 players

1. Nicole Zhang (2nd), Notre Dame

2. Emily Tubert (20th), Arkansas

3. Martina Gavier (24th), Kent State

4. Kelli Shean (29th), Arkansas

5. Sanna Nuutinen (43rd), TCU

Who: Kent State women’s golf

What: Mercedes Benz Championship

Where: Holston Hills Country Club in Knoxville, Tenn.

When: Oct. 8-Oct. 10

No. 14 Notre Dame is the highest team ranked in the tournament, while Tennessee is ranked 24th in the nation. Nicole Zhang, Notre Dame freshman sensation and the No. 2 ranked golfer in the country, will lead the Fighting Irish.

Tennessee junior Nathalie Mansson is the returning medalist in the tournament. She won the match last year with a final score of 3 under par.

“We really don’t ever worry about the other teams,” Morrow said. “We try to take care of our business and let (other teams) fall where they fall.”

Kent State’s five-player lineup will consist of seniors Martina Gavier and Sarah Bradley, juniors Mandi Morrow, Mercedes Germino and Shamira Marshall. Freshman Erin Hawe will compete individually for the Flashes.

Gavier was named one of the Mid-American Conference golfers of the week after her performance last week at the Notre Dame Invitational. She finished fourth overall, a team high for the Flashes.

Gavier, who is ranked No. 24 in the country by Golf Week, shot 5 over par in the tournament, including three birdies on the back nine in the third round.

Morrow said he expects Gavier to have a great weekend.

“I would like to see the same type of performance (as last week),” he said. “She needs to be very efficient.”

Germino finished tied for eighth last week, shooting 10 over par.

The Flashes tee off at 9:45 a.m. today. The team is paired with Texas Christian University and Mississippi, beginning on the 10th hole.

Kent State will play one round today and one round each on Saturday and Sunday, teeing off at 9 a.m. each day.

Contact Brad Tansey at [email protected].