MSU Golf: Women Rally to Finish 2nd in LSC Championship

Midwestern State's highlights have been numerous throughout the 2010-11 golf season.
The Mustangs finished in the top six in eight of 10 tournaments this season and as runner-up on two occasions.
Make that three as the Mustangs saved the best for last in Wednesday's final round at the Lone Star Conference Championships played at the Par-71, 5,867-yard course at The Republic Golf Club.
"The girls had the best round of golf since we started the program," MSU coach Jeff Ray said. "We had four quality scores and this a great way to go out, but we really want to make the regional tournament."
The Mustangs came into the week ranked 10th in the West Region and only nine teams make the NCAA Division II Super Regional field in two weeks at the Tascosa Country Club in Amarillo.
"I told the girls we'd have to finish second to Tarleton to have a chance to make the regional," Ray said. "The girls did what they had to do, but there's no guarantee."
The Mustangs were hoping to challenge No. 9 Nebraska-Omaha for the final postseason berth, but the Mavs also finished strong by claiming the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship earlier this week in Kansas City.
MSU hopes it did enough to overtake No. 8 Sonoma State, who has been idle the last few weeks. But that's in the NCAA Division II Women's Golf Committee hands now.
Either way, the decisions won't taint a breakout season by a talented collection of one senior and five sophomores that combined for the championships' best team score Wednesday afternoon with a 5-over 289.
Senior Kyla Whittley and sophomore Lindsay Burkhart delivered their best collegiate performances to join sister and fellow sophomore Kendra Whittley to finish within the Top 10 of the individual leader board with matching 222 totals (+9).
Burkhart tallied four birdies for a clutch 2-under 69 in the final round to better her low round by seven strokes after carding scores of 77 and 76 on Monday and Tuesday.
"Lindsay was fantastic today and really steady," Ray said. "She hit greens in regulation and every time she got in trouble, she hit a putt to keep it going. I'm very proud of her."
Kyla Whittley improved each round as she bettered her career low round in each of the last two days with rounds of 74 and 72 after opening with a 76.
"This is just a great way for her to go out," Ray said. "She stepped up for us and just had a tremendous tournament."
Kendra Whittley rebounded from a shaky second round - for her - to secure her sixth Top 10 finish of the year, while Taylor Klutts recovered from an opening round 83 for solid scores of 75 and 74 to tie for 24th with a total of 232 (+19).
"Kendra and Taylor were solid," Ray said of his two 2010 Super Regional qualifiers. "They've been our mainstays."
Sophomore Lauren Romines tied for 38th with scores of 80, 82 and 80 for a total of 242 (+29).
Midwestern State overcame a 12-stroke disadvantage to overtake Incarnate Word (897) to close as a distant runner-up to Tarleton State who finished with a three-round total of 866.
TSU senior Carla Cooper topped the individual leader board by six strokes over teammate Jacqueline Lau and Texas A&M-Commerce Chantry McMahan firing rounds of 68, 72 and 70 for a 3-under total of 210.

Smith, Mustang Men Finish Strong

Midwestern State just couldn't shake off its slow start at the Lone Star Conference Championships played at the Par-72, 7,172-yard Randolph Oaks Golf Course.
Paced by sophomore Sam Smith, the Mustangs rallied to their best round of the three-day, three-round tournament with a 3-over team total of 291.
And that wasn't enough to make a move as Midwestern settled for a ninth place showing as all but one program in the 11-team field fired a sub-300 team total in Wednesday's final round.
"The boys were disappointed with the first two days, but bounced back today," MSU coach Jeff Ray said. "We'll have to recover and prepare to go to Georgetown, Ky."
The Mustangs advance to the NCAA Super Regionals for the third time in the school history which will be played from May 2-4 at Cherry Blossom Golf Club.
"These guys have overcome a lot this year," Ray said. "Our performance here doesn't reflect the great season we've had."
Midwestern has finished in the top half in seven of its 10 tournament this season and in the Top 5 in four of the last five spring events coming into the LSC Championships despite going without two of its five best players from the fall.
Smith, a sophomore from Archer City, has been a big part of that and was in the mix Wednesday afternoon as he fired a team low round of 70 (-2) as he rallied from an opening round 86 to finish tied for 38th with a total of 232 (+16).
"Sam had a great spring and will continue to develop as a player," Ray said. "He is going to be a big part of our future."
Sophomore Raine Copeland (78-75-72) and Jeremy LeGuen (75-76-74) gave the Mustangs consistency this week finishing tied for 24th with a total of 225 (+9), while junior Trevor Arianna (74-79-76) carded a total of 229 (+13) to tie for 32nd.
Junior Brett Perry logged two countable rounds and finished tied with Smith at 38th with a total of 232 (+16).
Central Oklahoma claimed the conference title by nine strokes with rounds of 284, 296 and 279 for a total of 859 (-9) followed by Cameron (868) and Abilene Christian (870).
UCO's Colby Shrum topped the individual leader board firing rounds of 67, 72 and 68 for a total of 207 (-9).