Women’s golf lands Ladies Midwest Shootout title

Caleb Raubenolt

Entering the second round with a five-stroke lead atop an 11-team field, the Kent State women’s golf team just needed to stay in its comfort zone to win the Ladies Midwest Shootout on Saturday.

The Flashes did just that, finishing in front of second-place Vanderbilt by those same five strokes to win the tournament.

The win gives No. 22 Flashes their first tournament victory since tying with Michigan State for first place in September at the Mary Fossum Invitational.

“We did real well on a hard golf course,” coach Mike Morrow said regarding his team’s performance at Kampen Course in West Lafayette, Ind. “It’s one of the longest courses we’ve ever played. The conditions were very hard and it was pretty windy, so I thought it was a great test of golf.”

For the first time this year, every member of the team placed in the top 20, including three Flashes who finished in the top 10.

Pacing Kent State in second place, freshman Mercedes Germino shot a 5-over-par 149, just two strokes behind Purdue’s Maude Aimee Leblanc. Germino led the team with 26 pars, allowing her to earn her career-best finish.

Two strokes behind Germino, senior Kirby Dreher finished tied for fourth with a 7-over-par 151. The placing marks Dreher’s seventh top-10 finish of the year.

Rounding out the top 10 for the Flashes, sophomore Martina Gavier carded a 77 and 78, totaling an 11-over-par 155.

“Overall it was a real team effort,” Morrow said. “Seventy-eight was the highest score we counted all day, so that was a big part that kept all the players right there. It was a total team effort.”

Freshmen Shamira Marshall and Mandi Morrow tied for 16th and 18th place, while senior Maddi Swaney led the team with four birdies despite finishing 20th place overall.

Two weeks after the women finished runner-up at the Liz Murphy Classic in Athens, Ga., Morrow said he was proud of how his team maintained its focus despite the week off in between the events.

“For the most part, I think we managed the course very well,” Morrow said. “We have a lot of talent on this team and we’re starting to come into our own.”

Contact sports reporter Caleb Raubenolt at [email protected].