Caroline Powers Set To Play In NCAA Women's Golf Championships
Sophomore is on pace to set the MSU single-season scoring average record.
Live Scoring: http://www.ncaa.com/sports/golf-women/d1
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Sophomore Caroline Powers will represent Michigan State this week (Wednesday-Saturday, May 18-21) at the 2011 NCAA Women's Golf Championships in Bryan, Texas.
Although the Spartans did not qualify as a team after placing 11th at the NCAA East Regional, Powers earned a trip to nationals by posting one of the top two individual scores of those golfers not on qualifying teams. The top-eight teams at each of the three regionals advance to the NCAA Championships.
Powers tied for sixth at the NCAA East Regional, which was held May 5-7 at the Legends Course at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla. She shot a 1-over 217 (71-69-77) in 54 holes, which was the lowest total ever by a Spartan in NCAA Regional competition.
But the school-record score alone wasn't enough for Powers to qualify for the NCAA Championships, as she also had to beat out Maria Salinas of Florida State in a playoff to earn the last spot for nationals. Powers defeated Salinas by shooting par on the first hole of the playoff.
"I've watched Caroline in quite a few tournaments now being under those pressure situations, and she's really just a very cool player," said MSU head coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll. "She doesn't let anything bother her - she just gets into her own game and what she's doing. Obviously she does an exceptional job at that."
"I was really confident in my game and I was consistent," Powers said of her play at the NCAA East Regional. "I was hitting a lot of greens. If you give yourself enough chances, a few of the putts will fall, so that was my mindset."
A native of Bowling Green, Ohio, Powers enters the NCAA Championships ranked No. 27 in the nation by Golfweek. She owns a scoring average of 73.71, which is on pace to establish a new MSU single-season record, set just last year by All-American and Big Ten Golfer of the Year Laura Kueny (73.85).
"Every time Caroline tees it up, there's something more exciting going on in her game," said Slobodnik-Stoll. "She's learning, and the scores are continually coming down. She has the ability to make putts when she really needs to, and she makes a lot of birdies. She makes enough good shots that she puts herself into birdie position constantly."
Powers posted the top score for MSU in all but two tournaments this season, and placed in the top 10 on six occasions, including a first-place finish at the Lady Buckeye Invitational on April 17 for her first collegiate victory. She was named first-team All-Big Ten and also to the All-Championships team after taking fourth at the Big Ten Championships in helping lead the Spartans to their ninth Big Ten title in school history.
The NCAA Championships will be played at the Traditions Club, a familiar course for Michigan State and Powers. The Spartans opened the 2010-11 season at the site back in September for the NCAA Preview Tournament. Powers tied for 30th at the event with a team-best score of 220 (74-74-72). The par-72, 6,271-yard course, home of Texas A&M, will host 24 teams and six individuals for the NCAA Championships.
"I'm really excited," Powers said. "We get two practice rounds, so I'll get a really good feel for it. The course will probably play a little bit different than when we were there in the fall."
Outside of team competition, this marks just the third time that an individual will represent MSU at nationals (Syd Wells, 1983; Lisa Marino, 1985). The highest finish for a Spartan at the NCAA Championships arrived in 2001, when Emily Bastel tied for 13th place.
"I'm approaching this with the same mindset I've had going into every other tournament," said Powers, "especially with the last few and being in contention down the stretch, I think that's given me a better mindset on how to handle that. I'm ready to go and get 72 good holes in."
Live scoring of all four rounds will be available at NCAA.com.