MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – Fresh off its program-record 54-hole tournament total, the Central Michigan golf team is back on the course this weekend when it plays in the Michigan State Mary Fossum Invitational.
“It always helps starting out on a strong note and having that momentum to build upon,” CMU coach Cheryl Stacy said.
The Chippewas set or tied three program records last weekend at the Ball State Cardinal Classic: Their 940 total was the best 54-hole tournament score in program history, as was their 627 36-hole score. They matched the program record with a 312 in the opening round.
The Fossum will be played at Forest Akers West, which plays to par 72 over 6,236 yards. The 54-hole event begins Saturday with two 18-hole rounds. The final round is scheduled for Sunday.
The Cardinal Classic was played on The Players Club in Yorktown, Ind., a course that measures shorter than Forest Akers West. However heavy rain in the days leading up to the tournament in Yorktown made the course play longer.
That should pay off for the Chippewas as they navigate Forest Akers West, Stacy said.
“I’m glad that we started at Ball State,” Stacy said. “The fact that it played longer is good going into Michigan State. A couple of the par threes played tough at The Players Club. That’s good preparation because there are some challenging par threes at Forest Akers.”
All but one of the student-athletes, freshman Danielle Sawyer, has played at least one round on Forest Akers West. Some of those rounds, however, may have come during a high school tournament. That certainly will help with course familiarity, Stacy said, but the course will be set up to play longer and more difficult for a college event.
“The tees will be back (comparatively) quite a bit,” said Stacy, who has become quite familiar with Michigan State’s home course after her playing days at Ohio State and as a coach at Michigan. “They’ve got to set their plan and stick with it. What Michigan State tends to do is speed up the greens. They’re usually a lot faster during the tournament rounds than the practice round.”
The Chippewas shot 1,010 during last year’s Fossum Invitational. Bria Colosky and Kristen Wolfe, both of whom will be in CMU’s lineup, led the Chippewas a year ago with 246 total. Both had one sub-80 round in last year’s tournament.
All five of the Chippewas who played last weekend at Ball State shot at least one sub-80 round. It was the first collegiate event for Sawyer, who shot 76-78-78 – 232 and finish in a tie for 43rd. CMU’s Holly Hines emerged from the tournament with a career-best 74, which she posted in the first round, and Natalie Johnson, the Chippewas’ No. 1 player, closed with back-to-back 75s after an opening-round 87.
“We’re still trying to work on some consistency from round to round,” Stacy said. “We didn’t have as many big numbers (as in past tournaments). I was encouraged. We still need to work on our wedges -- that 120 yards-and-in (shot) and around the greens.”