EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan State women’s golf team took second place at the 2012 Mary Fossum Invitational, which concluded Sunday afternoon at Forest Akers West Golf Course on the campus of MSU. Senior Caroline Powers, playing in her last home tournament, claimed runner-up honors with a 1-over 217 (73-71-73), just two shots back of medalist Krista Puisite of Texas State (1-under 215).
No. 22 Purdue won the team title by seven shots over the Spartans with a team score of 11-over 875 (288-290-297), tying a 54-hole Fossum Invitational record. MSU also carded an 875 when it won the 2009 Fossum Invitational.
Michigan State shot the best round of the day with a 296 and finished at 18-over with an 882 (297-289-296), while Notre Dame placed third with an 887 (298-290-299).
Powers entered the third round in fourth place and moved up to second by firing a 1-over 73 on Sunday. She shot 2-under over her final eight holes, including birdies on the par-3 12th and par-5 17th. It marked Powers’ 10th career top-five finish, and her third at the Fossum Invitational (third in 2010; medalist in 2011).
“I really didn’t even think about the fact that this was my last Fossum and it didn’t dawn on me until it was over,” said Powers, who currently owns the lowest scoring average in school history. “It was a struggle in the beginning, but I was happy about how I was able to recover and get a couple of those shots back. I gave it my best shot, and that’s all I could really ask for today.
“It was so much fun playing at home this weekend. Some of my friends came out to watch, and my family was here, so it’s great to have some fans because we don’t usually have those at many tournaments we go to. It makes it more special.”
Junior Christine Meier placed in the top 10 for the fourth time in her career, tying for ninth with a 6-over 222 (74-75-73). Meier had her best round of the tournament on Sunday at 1-over 73, including two birdies and 13 pars.
Allyssa Ferrell (80-69-75) and Trisha Witherby (73-76-75) each tied for 12th with a 224, while Jenny Sritragul rounded out the starting lineup with a 226 (77-74-75).
“We were playing against Purdue, who is notoriously one of the best teams in the country, and we weren’t too far behind them,” said MSU head coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll. “We just didn’t make enough birdies today and we couldn’t overcome the deficit we had after two rounds yesterday.
“We were very close, but I’m just thrilled with the team and impressed with our depth. Caroline finishing runner-up is no surprise, Christine placed in the top 10, Allyssa bouncing back from an 80 yesterday (in the first round) to a 69 (in the second round) was great, and I think the two bright spots were Jenny and Trisha, two sophomores. They both saw limited action last year and have made great strides in a year and over the summer and are playing really good golf. And Liz Nagel is close as well; she is capable of shooting under-par rounds, and she knows that.
“I also saw some things out there today that we really need to work on, especially it being our home course. I thought we could have executed things a little bit better. All in all, I would say it’s a great start to our season.”
Michigan State also fielded a second team at the tournament, led by Nagel, who shot a 223 (75-74-75) to place 11th. Mariah Massa produced the best round of her young Spartan career on Sunday with a 75 to tie for 39th place at 235 (82-78-75). Lindsey McPherson (83-77-78—238), Carley Saint-Onge (84-76-81—241) and Yushira Budhram (82-81-85—248) also played on the second team, which placed 11th in the 17-team field.
Playing as an individual, Bea Murray (80-78-78—236) tied for 46th. Soleil Singh (85-81-83—249) and Mackenzie Johnson (91-97-89—277) also played as individuals for MSU.
“Everyone’s playing pretty well right now and feeling really comfortable and confident,” said Powers. “I think that’s what we can take forward in the coming weeks.”
The Spartans return to action this upcoming weekend (Sept. 21-23) for the Mason Rudolph Championship at the Legends Club in Franklin, Tenn., site of the 2012 NCAA Championships this past May.