Back nine birdies propel Spartans to first place after first day of Mary Fossum Invitational

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Jack Stager

The Michigan State Spartans discuss strategy as they get ready to tee off on the tenth hole during day one of the Mary Fossum Invitational.

EAST LANSING – The Michigan State Women’s golf team teed off at Forrest Akers West golf course on Sunday as they hosted day one of the Mary Fossum Invitational. The Spartans had just returned from Charleston, S.C. where they placed 11th and dealt with brutal weather conditions Sept. 11th and 12th. Fortunately for head coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll and her Spartans, it was 65 degrees and sunny in East Lansing on Sunday. 

Katie Lu, Shannon Kennedy, Brooke Biermann, Leila Raines, and Valentina Rossi were Slobodnik-Stoll’s starting lineup for the first day of the invitational. Michigan State started off slow as they found themselves in seventh place out of fifteen teams after their opening front nine. Junior Katie Lu, however, found success as she birdied holes four and eight, rounding the turn at one under par. Lu then proceeded to continue her pace as she was flawless on the back nine. With no bogeys and a birdie on the par four 11th, she concluded her round at two under with a final score of 70. Lu also put herself in a great position individually, as she found herself tied for second place at the end of the round. 

For the rest of the Spartans, birdies came in bunches on the back nine as there was a total of eight birdies between the team. After birdieing the par four 14th hole, senior Leila Raines hit a short iron to two feet on the par four 15th, making the putt and writing two back-to-back threes on her scorecard. Raines parred out and concluded her round at 73 (+1). Junior Brooke Biermann and senior Valentina Rossi both joined Katie Lu as they were flawless on the back nine as well, with no bogeys and finding birdies on the par four 11th and 14th holes. 

After starting two over par on her first four holes, Valentina finished her next fourteen holes two under with a beautiful approach on hole 15, putting a short iron to five feet, and rolling in the putt for birdie. The talented and experienced senior finished at even par for the day with a 72. Both Rossi’s and Biermann’s scores counted for the Spartans as Biermann rounded her final nine holes at two under, putting a stamp on her final score of 71 (-1). Junior Shannon Kennedy nearly holed out on the par three 10th, putting her tee shot to a foot. After making the birdie and finishing strong, Kennedy turned in her scorecard at 72 (E), with her score counting as well. 

Strong play continued in round two as Michigan State played even better, shooting a team score of 281 (-7). Leading the Spartans yet again was Lu, as she shot 69 (-3) with four birdies and a lonesome bogey, putting her in solo first place headed into Monday. Following the junior was Raines who shot 69 (-3) as well, with an eagle on the par five eighth hole. Biermann managed a 71 (-1) as she had three birdies and two bogeys on the front nine, while her back nine was nine straight pars. Kennedy came out blazing hot as she found herself four under through her first 14 holes of action. However, after a rough finish, she came into the clubhouse with a 72 (E). 

Michigan State commands the driving seat as they lead by eight strokes, finishing with a team score of 285 (-3) in the first round, and 281 (-4) in the second round, with a final tally being seven under collectively as a team. Purdue is the next closest team as they finished at a combined two under after team scores of 290 (+2) and 284 (-4). Monday is the final day of the Mary Fossum Invitational at Forrest Akers West golf course. Michigan State will be hoping for clear skies, and prepared to continue their strong play, looking for a home victory in East Lansing.  

Live scoring for the final day of action can be found on the official Golf Stat website.

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