Women’s Golf Preview: Flashes Aim to Continue Streak at MAC Championship
The only team to ever win the conference title, Kent State looks for their 14th consecutive MAC Championship
The Kent State women’s golf team begins postseason play this weekend when the Golden Flashes look to defend their team title at the 2012 Mid-American Conference Women’s Golf Championship at The Hawthorns Golf and Country Club in Fishers, Ind.
Since the tournament’s inception in 1999, Kent State has captured all 13 MAC Championships, the longest active streak of consecutive MAC titles in any conference sport.
The 54-hole tournament will feature 18 rounds on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with tee times beginning at 8 a.m. ET each day. Friday’s first round features Kent State paired with Ohio and Eastern Michigan off the No. 1 tee from 9:20 a.m. to 10 a.m. Tee times will be adjusted for placing for Saturday and Sunday, with the higher placed teams teeing off later in the day.
The Hawthorns will play as a par-72, 6,127-yard course for the field. Live stats will be available through golfstat.com.
This is the second time the MAC Women’s Golf Championship will be played at The Hawthorns. Kent State claimed the 2010 MAC Championship at the course with a 19-stroke victory, as the Golden Flashes were led by medalist Martina Gavier (2008-11).
Scouting the Golden Flashes
Coming off a regular season schedule that proved to be the 25th toughest in the nation, Kent State is led by senior Mercedes Germino (Necochea, Argentina). Germino leads the MAC this season with a 74.33 stroke average, which is more than a full stroke better than the nearest conference golfer. With a MAC individual title, Germino would become the third golfer in Kent State – and Mid-American Conference – history to be a two-time winner; Germino was victorious as a freshman in 2009.
The Golden Flashes also feature two more of the MAC’s top four golfers by stroke average in freshman Jennifer Ha (Calgary, Alberta) and senior Mandi Morrow (Kent, Ohio). Ha is third in the MAC with a 75.81 stroke average, and is also the lowest scoring freshman in the conference by over two strokes per round. Morrow is ranked fourth in the conference with a 76.19 stroke average, as she turned in the second-lowest 18-hole score this season with a three-under 68 at Stanford.
Rounding out Kent State’s team is senior Shamira Marshall (Macedonia, Ohio) and sophomore Erin Hawe (Walton, New Zealand). Both golfers have shown flashes of brilliance in their careers; Marshall just missed capturing the 2011 MAC individual title before finishing tied for fifth place, while Hawe shot a team-record seven-under 65 as a freshman in 2010 at the Mercedes-Benz Championship.
Scouting the Tournament Field
Nine teams will be competing for the MAC Championship this weekend. Joining Kent State and host school Western Michigan are Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, Ohio and Toledo. In Golfweek’s team rankings, Kent State is ranked 49th nationally, with Eastern Michigan ranked 80th overall. Akron (113), Toledo (126) and Western Michigan (150) are in the top 150 in the country.
In the Golfweek/Sagarin individual rankings, Kent State’s Germino is ranked 77th nationally, while Jennifer Ha (193) is also in the top 200 in the country. Morrow is 241st, while Eastern Michigan’s Sarah Johnson, last year’s MAC medalist, is ranked 279th this season.
Akron’s Kristin Hill and Katie Jenior, Toledo’s Piyathida Chaiyapan, Ball State’s Jenna Hague, Bowling Green’s Bailey Arnold and Western Michigan’s Laura Moutrey all have first-place finishes this season.
The winner of the 2012 MAC Championship will receive an automatic berth into the NCAA Regionals, which will be hosted at Colorado, Ohio State and Penn State May 10-12. The top eight teams of each 24-team regional will advance to the NCAA Championship May 22-25 in Franklin, Tenn.