McGinty, Panthong help Flashes win Icon Invitational

Amanda Levine Sports editor

After the Kent State women’s golf team struggled in its last performance, finishing in sixth place, the Flashes dropped from No. 3 in the country to No. 5.

Kent State went on to win the ICON Invitational, finishing 12 strokes ahead of the No. 1 University of Texas. 

“So it was great to get a win against them, a big upset in ways, but not in others. I think we can compete with the best in the country and that’s what we do,” coach Lisa Strom said. 

The Flashes competed against six top 50 universities including No. 20 Virginia Tech and No. 23 Texas Tech. Kent State’s first place finish was led by three Flashes finishing in the top five of the tournament: Caley McGinty, Pimnipa Panthong and Chloe Salort.

No. 45 McGinty had the highest finish for Kent State, placing in third behind Lorena Tseng (first place) for Tulsa and Sifat Sagoo (second) for Purdue. McGinty climbed three spots in the rankings after shooting four under par during the final round of the tournament.

Panthong finished right behind her in fourth place after moving up four spots in the final round. The No. 37 golfer in the country finished four under par for the tournament, after shooting four under par in the final round.

“I think when you’ve got the depth that we have from top to bottom, I think it takes a lot of pressure off those top two players ranked as high as they are in the world, they have high expectations of the themselves and the team. It’s just great to see our three, four, five players some weeks step in and take the lead and take charge,” Strom said. 

Salort tied for fifth with Sophie Guo for Texas. The junior golfer moved ahead three spots after shooting three under par on the final day. Her strong performance in the final round led her to tie with the No. 4 golfer in the country and two spots ahead of No. 15 Sofia Garcia of Texas Tech.

“It’s a huge confidence for her and she’s been working really hard this spring season coming back after Christmas break,” Strom said. “Just really proud of her effort and maybe a recommitment to herself and her team. She didn’t like sitting at home and she knew she could be a contributor and a key component as we come down the stretch in the spring.”

The final two golfers for Kent State, Karoline Stormo and Kory Nielsen, placed in 20th and 39th. Stormo, the No. 40 golfer, finished the final round of the ICON Invitational even. She tied for 20th alongside No. 83 Courtney Dow of Texas A&M.

Nielsen moved up four spots on the final day, shooting six over par for the tournament. She tied with Sami Liu from Tulsa and Brooke McDougald for the University of Houston.

The Flashes next performance will be at the Valspar Augusta Invitational, March 14 and March 15.

Amanda Levine is a sports editor. Contact her at [email protected]