Michigan State Womenâ€™s Golf Hosts Mary Fossum Invitational This Weekend
Spartans will welcome 10 other schools to the 28th annual event at Forest Akers West.
EAST LANSING, Mich. â€“ The Michigan State womenâ€™s golf team hosts its lone home tournament of the season, the 28th annual Mary Fossum Invitational, this Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 17-18) at Forest Akers West Golf Course on the MSU campus.
The Spartans have won their home tournament six out of the last eight years, with victories in the 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009 Mary Fossum Invitationals, and the 2006 Lady Northern Invitational. Overall, MSU has won the Mary Fossum Invitational eight times. Â
Mary Fossum was the first and only head coach in the history of Spartan women's golf prior to 1997, coaching from 1973 until her retirement. Under Fossum's guidance, the Spartans won an unprecedented five straight Big Ten titles from 1974-78 and played in six consecutive AIAW National Championships (1973-78). The Spartans regained the conference crown in 1982 and played in the 1982 and 1984 NCAA Championships.
â€œBeing able to recognize Mary Fossum is one of the highlights of the season,â€ said MSU head coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll. â€œSharing with everyone what she has done for womenâ€™s golf, not only at Michigan State, but also throughout the country, is just wonderful. Having her and her family out here every day to support us is great.â€
The 2011 Mary Fossum Invitational features 11 teams, including Eastern Michigan, Ferris State, Indiana, James Madison, Kent State, Miami (Fla.), Michigan, Oakland, Ohio State and Toledo, in addition to the host Spartans. The tournament, which will be 36 holes on Saturday and 18 holes on Sunday, begins both days with a shotgun start at 9 a.m. Live scoring of the entire tournament will be available at www.golfstat.com.
â€œWe love playing our home golf course and we want to defend our turf â€“ but weâ€™ll have some challenges,â€ said Slobodnik-Stoll.
The Spartans, ranked No. 19 in the NCGA/Golf World Coaches Preseason Poll, opened their season earlier this week at the Texas A&M MoMorial in Bryan, Texas. Battling temperatures each day that were over 100 degrees, the Spartans placed eighth in the 11-team tournament, which featured five top-25 programs. Junior Caroline Powers led the way for MSU by finishing 12th.
â€œIt was a good experience,â€ said the 15th-year head coach on playing at the Texas A&M MoMorial, as two players (Liz Nagel, Trisha Witherby) played in the starting lineup for the first time, along with a freshman individual (Jenny Sritragul). â€œWe feel that we made a lot of progress with some of the younger kids on the team. Theyâ€™re going to learn every single day theyâ€™re here.â€
Senior Lindsey Solberg, who has placed in the top 10 three times at MSUâ€™s home tournament, will be playing in her final Mary Fossum Invitational this weekend. She made her Spartan debut at the 2008 Fossum, where she tied for second and shot a score of 218. As a sophomore, she played as an individual and tied for third with a career-low score of 216. Last season, Solberg finished eighth by carding a 225.
â€œIâ€™m at Michigan State â€“ it doesnâ€™t get any better than that,â€ Solberg said on why she likes playing the Mary Fossum Invitational. â€œItâ€™s nice to have the whole camaraderie, all of your teammates are there, and a lot of people come out to watch that are really huge Spartan fans and supporters of our program. Itâ€™s nice to see that. Itâ€™s just really a great time.â€
For Slobodnik-Stoll, the weekend is about honoring her mentor in coaching.
â€œThe flashbacks happen often â€“ Mary and I have so many great memories together when I was one of her players, just lots of funny stories and memories made,â€ said Slobodnik-Stoll of when she sees Fossum on the course. â€œTo me, time hasnâ€™t passed, because I look at her, and itâ€™s still Mary.
â€œI still do feel sometimes that Iâ€™m quite close to the players on my teamâ€™s age, although sometimes I realize that Iâ€™m not,â€ Slobodnik-Stoll continued, laughing. â€œBut I think thatâ€™s great â€“ you have to stay young to keep up with what the student-athletes are doing, we have to stay in their world. And thatâ€™s what so great about Mary. I can call her and talk to her just like I did 20 years ago. She understands coaching, she understands what Iâ€™m going throughâ€¦she did it for 25 years, so she obviously has more experience than I do. I just use her as a mentor. Sheâ€™s like a family member to me.â€
ABOUT MARY FOSSUM:
Mary Fossum was the first and only head coach in the history of Spartan women's golf prior to 1997, coaching from 1973 until her retirement. For 17 of those years, Fossum was part of a unique coaching pair as her husband, Bruce, coached the MSU men's team for 25 seasons before his retirement in 1989.
Under Fossum's guidance, the Spartans won an unprecedented five straight Big Ten titles from 1974-78 and played in six consecutive AIAW National Championships (1973-78). The Spartans regained the conference crown in 1982 and played in the 1982 and 1984 NCAA Championships. MSU claimed its third conference runner-up spot under Fossum at the 1987 Big Ten Championship.
Those accomplishments led to recognition of Fossum as one of the country's best collegiate golf coaches. She was honored as the first-ever NCAA Midwest Region Coach of the Year in 1984 and was inducted into the Golf Coaches Hall of Fame in 1988.
In 1999, Michigan State's annual fall women's golf tournament was renamed the Mary Fossum Invitational. In January of 1998, Fossum was honored by the College Golf Foundation with the Rolex/Gladys Palmer Meritorious Service Award for outstanding service and contributions to collegiate women's golf. She was inducted into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame on Sept. 27, 2003. In 2007, the Big Ten named its award for the women's golfer with the lowest stroke-average to par in a season the Mary Fossum Award.
A native of Green Bay, Wis., Fossum won the Wisconsin women's golf championship in 1945, 1946 and 1947. One of the many highlights of her career was her match-play victory over Mildred (Babe) Didrikson-Zaharias in the 1946 Women's Western Amateur semifinals. Fossum was inducted in 1990 into the Wisconsin Golf Hall of Fame, making her only the fifth woman to achieve that distinction.
Fossum also was involved at the national level, serving as a member of the NCAA golf committee which guides the national development and administration of women's collegiate golf.
28TH ANNUAL MARY FOSSUM INVITATIONAL QUICK FACTS:
HOST: Michigan State University
LOCATION: East Lansing, Mich.
DATES: Saturday, Sept. 17 - Sunday, Sept. 18
COURSE: Forest Akers West Golf Course
PAR/YARDAGE: 72 / 6,236
TEE TIMES: Shotgun start at 9 a.m. (both days)
LIVE SCORING: Available at www.golfstat.com
FIELD (11): Eastern Michigan, Ferris State, Indiana, James Madison, Kent State, Miami (Fla.), Michigan, Michigan, Oakland, Ohio State, Toledo