Experience leads women’s golf into weekend

Brittany Tatgenhorst

Since its start in 1997, the Kent State women’s golf program has experienced a decade of success, earning 10 Mid-American Conference Championship titles.

The team expects this year to be no different, as it draws from a talented freshman recruiting class and experienced senior veterans. The Flashes are hoping to tee off to a win this weekend at the Mary Fossum Invitational in Michigan.

“We have done well at this tournament and on this course,” senior Kirby Dreher said.

The Flashes will head to East Lansing, Mich., to play on the Forest Akers Golf Course, a familiar venue for the team. Kent State tied for second at the same tournament there in 2007.

“We have had some success at this course,” Kent State coach Mike Morrow said. “We like opening our season there.”

Although the course may be familiar to some of the golfers, it’s one that will challenge the team.

“I know the course and it’s a pretty good test for golf,” sophomore Martina Gavier said.

Regardless of the difficulty of the course, Dreher thinks the team is ready.

“We have been playing a lot of competitive golf against each other,” Dreher said. “I think everyone is ready to get to a tournament and see how we do.”

Senior Maddi Swaney, sophomore McKenzie Jackson, and freshmen Mercedes Germino and Shamira Marshall will join Dreher and Gavier in representing the team after qualifying for the tournament.

“I think we have a pretty young team,” Gavier said.

Whether they are predominately young or not, the team isn’t short of talent.

Dreher led the team last year with a scoring average of 74.7. She placed sixth in the Royale Cup Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship in August and was named an honorable mention All-American by Golfweek in June.

Gavier was selected to represent Argentina at the World Amateur Team Championship in October. This is Gavier’s second invitation to the bi-annual tournament which is recognized as the largest event in amateur golf.

Morrow is pleased with the six golfers who qualified to compete this weekend.

“All six players are playing really good golf,” Morrow said.

Dreher is anxious to see how Germino and Marshall’s contribution will blend with the experience of the rest of the players and enhance the team.

“I am really excited to play a tournament and see how the new team is this year,” Dreher said.

As the 2008 team’s debut approaches, Gavier is assured that it will be successful.

“I am pretty confident. We are all confident,” Gavier said. “We can go there and play well.”

The Flashes will need to play with confidence, as they face some tough competitors.

“It’s pretty much a Midwest flavor,” Morrow said. “We’ll be seeing some Big Ten competition as well as some MAC competition.”

Notre Dame, Toledo, Michigan, Michigan State and Missouri are a few of the teams Kent State will be going up against.

“Michigan State is always a pretty good contender,” Dreher said. “We always have competition with them. I am sure that all the teams that will be there will be there to win.”

Regardless of the goals of the other squads, Kent State is competing with one goal in mind.

“Hopefully we can get out there, play well, and take home the victory,” Dreher said.

Contact sports reporter Brittany Tatgenhorst at [email protected].