The Kent State women’s golf team won its first tournament of the season at the Clemson Invitational this weekend. 

“It was a great great team atmosphere,” coach Lisa Strom said. “Throughout the tournament they just got it going. Their ball striking was excellent, and they drove it really well.”

The team finished with an overall score of 12-under 852, beating 17 other teams in Clemson, South Carolina.

After the Flashes finished a disappointing 11th in the Valspar Augusta Invitational March 13-14, Strom said they had to create a mindset of being a great team that can overcome adversity together.

“We really did some checking in with ourselves, really diving into what’s going on and making sure we’re in this together,” Strom said. “The five that traveled just really gelled together. They were here to do this together.”

KSU sophomore Caley McGinty won the tournament with a career-low 10-under 206, the fifth-lowest 54-hole score in KSU history.

“I can’t say enough about her as a person,” Strom said. “She’s the type of kid that you just want to see her get some success. She’s doing all that work at home and getting this first big win for her is huge.”

Senior Kory Nielson also had a career-low of 3-under 213 and tied for fifth. 

“She was a rock star, and she thrives in that team atmosphere,” Strom said. “She could build on the momentum she saw around her.”

Nielsen was able to hole a bunker shot in round two. 

“It was wild,” Strom said. “For our sport, we don’t usually get overly excited about things. But when you’re in a team environment, they are getting fired up — lots of shouting. It was just so much fun.”

Freshman Mayka Hoogeboom tied for 36th at 6-over 222 in her first college tournament. 

“Makya, in her first tournament in college golf, didn’t know what to expect,” Strom said. “But she has great experience as a team player. When she got into that first round with some of her reactions, like fist pumping and high fiving her teammates, her experience in team golf really showed up. That’s what’s contagious.”

The team plays next at the Indiana Invitational in Bloomington, Indiana, on April 17-18.

Pilar Lewis is a sports reporter. Contact her at glewis20@kent.edu.

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