MSU Golf Roundup: LSC Championships, Day 1

Midwestern State's hopes of qualifying for the program's first NCAA Division II Regional may be bleak, but the Mustangs certainly increased the light at the end of the tunnel with a solid showing to open third in the opening round of the Lone Star Conference Championships Monday at the Par-71, 6,147-yard course at The Republic Golf Club.
Sophomore Kendra Whittley led the way by firing a 1-under 70 to stand third on the individual leader board to lead the Mustangs' to a third place team total of 303 (+19) after the first round.
"Kendra had a great round," MSU coach Jeff Ray said. "Today was a great day to score and she took advantage of it."
Whittley is just three strokes off the pace of tournament-leading Carla Cooper of Tarleton State. Cooper birdied three of the last four holes to polish off a 3-under 68 round and leapfrog Incarnate Word's Jessica Cornish (69/-2), Whittley and Texas A&M-Commerce's Chantry McMahan (70/-1).
Sister Kyla Whittley recorded her best round of the season to Par notching three birdies on her to a 5-over 76 to tie for 18th, while sophomores Lindsay Burkhart and Lauren Romines combined for 22 pars record rounds of 77 (+5) and 80 (+8) to tie for 20th and 32nd, respectively.
Sophomore Taylor Klutts struggled to her worst round of the spring carding a non-counting 83 (+12) to tie for 43rd.
"Taylor won't have two days in a row like she did today," Ray said. "She will give us a quality score tomorrow."
The Mustangs need a solid showing to move up from the 10th place position in last week's NCAA Division II South Central Rankings, as the top nine teams advance to the regional tournament to be held from May 1-3 at the Tascosa Country Club in Amarillo.
"Our only chance would be to finish and hope," Ray said. "And that may not do it. You just have to do the best you can."
The Lone Star Conference Championship continues with a second round Tuesday morning before closing with the final round on Wednesday.

Men Tied for 7th After First Round

The day wasn't as bad as the first round seventh place showing for Midwestern State in the Lone Star Conference Championships played at the Par-72, 7,127-yard Randolph Oaks Golf Course.
"We didn't play well, but we're not too far out of third place," MSU coach Jeff Ray said. "Obviously, tomorrow we need to step up and play better."
The Mustangs, who carded a team total of 308 (+20), had just about everything go against them despite a strong showing from Trevor Arianna who fired an opening round 74 (+2) from MSU's No. 5 bag.
"Usually, you say your No. 5 is going to have a 74 and you're going to have a great score," Ray said.
On the other side of that, Sam Smith struggled to his worst round of the season carding an opening round 86 (+14) for a non-counting score from the Mustangs' No. 1 bag.
"Sam had a great semester averaging a 74.01 in just awful weather conditions," Ray said. "He just had one of those days that you have in golf every now and then."
On top of that, MSU's Brett Perry enjoyed a solid even-Par round through the first 10 holes before taking a double bogey on No. 11 and a 10 on No. 14 to finish the day with a countable 81 (+9).
But Midwestern got a pair of solid rounds from Raine Copeland (75/+3) and Jeremy LeGuen (78/+6) to stay in contention with two rounds remaining at the LSC Championships.
"It's been a very unusual semester in that everyone on the team has been to at least two tournaments," Ray said. "We don't have the depth that we had, so there's not much room for error."
The Mustangs are seven strokes behind Northeastern State and West Texas A&M which are both tied for third with matching first round totals of 301 followed by Texas A&M (302), Cameron (303) and Southwestern Oklahoma State (308).
Central Oklahoma tops the team leader board with a 4-under 284 and leads Abilene Christian (296) by 12 strokes.
UCO's Colby Shrum was tops in the individual leader board after firing a 5-under 67.
The tournament continues with a second round beginning Tuesday morning before wrapping up with the final round on Wednesday.

Whittley Highlights Mustangs Selected to All-LSC Teams

Midwestern State sophomore Kendra Whittley led a contingent of three Mustangs named to the 2011 All-Lone Star Conference Golf Teams.
Whittley, the right-hander from Wall, was named to the women's All-LSC second-team announced Monday night at the Lone Star Conference Golf Championships Awards Banquet.
Sophomore Taylor Klutts of Lake Kiowa was selected as an honorable mention to the women's All-LSC team, while sophomore Raine Copeland of Carrollton was named to an honorable mention to the men's All-LSC team.
Whittley has five Top 10 finishes on the season. She won the MSU Invitational in March and surrounded that win with second place finishes at the Audible Closed Championship In Dallas and the Drury Lady Panther Spring Shootout in Springfield, Mo.
Ranked 32nd by Golfstat as an individual in NCAA Division II, Whittley has a 76.94 scoring average on the season and shot her best round of the season with a 70 on Monday in the opening round of the LSC Championship.
Klutts possesses four Top 10 finishes this season as well, including being the runner-up at the Northeastern State Invitational last fall. She sports a 78.35 scoring average and posted her best round of the season in Muskogee at the NSU Invite.
Copeland stepped up his game for the Mustangs by finishing 21st or better in seven of nine events this season. He has two Top 10 finishes, with his best a fifth place showing at the Springfield Pasta Company Invitational last month. Copeland has a 75.50 scoring average and carded his top round of the year with a 69 at the Charles Coody West Texas Intercollegiate in Abilene last fall.