Strong final rounds nets top-five finish

Thomas Gallick

The women’s golf seemed destined to stay in the middle of the pack this weekend at the Mercedes-Benz Women’s Championship, before shooting an excellent final round that pushed them to fifth place.

The team shot a 4-over-par final round, tying tournament champion, Florida, and runner up, Purdue, for best round of the day, to finish in fifth place.

Junior Kirby Dreher, who started the day tied for 20th, also climbed the leader board to finish in a team-best tie for tenth place with a final score of 3-over-par. Dreher shot 2-under-par in the final round, the only under-par round for Kent State in the entire tournament.

“I wasn’t driving very well on the first two days of the tournament, so I really focused on hitting the fairways in the final round and it helped a lot,” Dreher said.

Cydney Clanton of Auburn and Sandra Gal of Florida tied for the individual title with scores of 3-under-par. The team from Florida won the overall event as well, shooting a three day total of 13-over-par.

Coach Mike Morrow said he attributed the lack of under-par scores on the women’s side to an extremely tough course with unusually fast greens.

“The greens on this golf course were very severe, but we just had a real good round on the final day,” Morrow said. “Finishing in the top five in a tournament this tough is harder than winning in most tournaments.”

Morrow also said the field of golfers, mainly from southern schools, was the toughest the team has gone up against all year.

Senior Tara Delaney and Freshman Martina Gavier also finished strong in the final round, as they both tied for 27th place at 9-over-par. Gavier shot even-par for the day to jump from 45th place at the start of the day to 27th.

Morrow said the team is fearless when it comes to competing against some of the best competition in the country.

“It was a team effort and all of our golfers played well,” Morrow said. “It was a strong field, but our golfers look forward to playing against the top teams.”

Senior Kira Meixner, who finished first among the team in the last two events, finished in a tie for 43rd. Meixner failed to shoot an under-par round over the course of the tournament for the first time this year, but contributed a 1-over-par final round to help with the team’s comeback.

Dreher said she hopes the team’s excellent play at the Mercedes-Benz Women’s Championship carries over to their next event.

“I think the team has accomplished a lot of what we set at to do at the beginning of the season,” Dreher said. “We’d definitely like to get a win in the final tournament of the season.”

The women’s team plays next at the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown in Henderson, Nev. on Oct. 29. The event will be the final tournament of the fall season for the women’s team.

Contact golf reporter Thomas Gallick at