Just how significant was it for the Michigan State women to take the team title yesterday at the Lady Tar Heel Invitational, outpacing third-ranked Auburn by 12 strokes (along with eight other top 25 teams in the latest Golf World/NGCA coaches' poll)? Ask Spartan coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll.
"Outside of the winning the Big Ten Championship, this is the biggest tournament win in my tenure here," said Slobodnik-Stoll. "We beat teams we've never beaten today, and they are consistently the top teams in the country, year after year. And we did it by 12 strokes, which is even more impressive. It really shows what we're capable of and the potential we have. [Players] one through five, this is hands down the best team I've had. With performances like we had over the weekend, our players are raising the bar for themselves."
Indeed, MSU set a 54-hole school scoring record Sunday at UNC Finley GC in Chapel Hill, N.C., closing out a four-under 860 performance. Junior Laura Kueny (T-2) and sophomore Shannon Warner (T-6) both posted top-10 finishes individually as the Spartans won their second tournament in three starts on the 2009-10 season.
Michigan State's previous 54-hole record came in April 2006, when the Spartans shot an 864 at the Northwestern Invitational in Rancho Mirage, Calif. In addition, MSU has carded the top-three 18-hole scores in team history this fall, as it shot a school-record 280 in the second round of the Lady Northern Invitational in September, a 283 during the second round Saturday in North Carolina and a 285 on Friday.
Particularly impressive has been the cohesion of Slobodnik-Stoll's squad
"The team chemistry is amazing, and that's something you can't create as a coach," said the coach, the Lady Tar Heel being her 25th tournament victory. "They're excited when their teammates do well and they're fighting for each other."
The Spartans play once more this fall, teeing it up at the NCAA Fall Preview in Wilmington, N.C., Oct. 23-25.