MSU's final fall tournament will be held at the site of the NCAA Championships in May.
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Fresh off of winning the Tar Heel Invitational in record-setting fashion, the No. 5 Michigan State women's golf team will face another challenge this weekend (Oct. 23-25) at the NCAA Fall Preview in Wilmington, N.C. The 18-team tournament, featuring 15 teams in the top 25 of the Golfweek rankings, will be played at the par 72, 6,325-yard Pete Dye Course at the Country Club of Landfall, host of the 2010 NCAA Championships in May.
The Spartans, who are also ranked No. 2 in the Golfstat rankings, have won two of their three tournaments this fall. MSU opened the year by winning the Mary Fossum Invitational on Sept. 13 and won the Tar Heel Invitational two weeks ago by shooting a 54-hole program record 860.
The stakes are even higher this weekend, as the elite field features eight of the top 10 teams in the nation. In addition to the fifth-ranked Spartans, the 18-team tournament includes: No. 1 UCLA, No. 2 Arizona State, No. 3 Purdue, No. 4 Auburn, No. 6 USC, No. 8 Pepperdine, No. 9 Alabama, No. 11 Georgia, No. 12 LSU, No. 13 Duke, No. 16 Oklahoma State, No. 18 Wake Forest, No. 20 Denver, No. 22 Virginia, No. 28 New Mexico, No. 30 North Carolina and host UNC-Wilmington.
"This tournament is an insight into the possibilities of what could happen in May," said MSU women's golf coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll. "It's a long road toward that point, but it's exciting to get this kind of opportunity in the fall. It's another chance for our team to compete against the top teams in the country. We've also never played this course, so that is going to help us as well.
"I think winning the Tar Heel Invitational was a confidence booster and solidified in our players' minds how good they can be; it gave us a better grasp of where we are as a program. The biggest difference for us this year is that we have five players who are capable of shooting under-par. The field is going to be even stronger at the NCAA Preview, but we are very excited about the weekend."
MSU will send the same lineup that set the school record at the Tar Heel Invitational to the NCAA Preview. Senior Laura Kueny, who is ranked 18th nationally, leads the team with a 72.22 stroke average. She tied for second at the Tar Heel with a career-best score of 212 and is on pace to have the lowest scoring average in school history; her 74.64 career average is currently first in the record books.
Junior Aimee Neff is also ranked in the top 50 at No. 47. Neff's average of 73.11 is second on the team; she has placed in the top 10 twice this fall, including a seventh-place finish at the Lady Northern Invitational.
Two more Spartans are ranked in the top 100: Lindsey Solberg at No. 64 and Caroline Powers at No. 76. Solberg owns a 73.44 average, while Powers - a true freshman - is at 73.78. Shannon Warner, who has two top-10 finishes this fall, rounds out the lineup for MSU.
The NCAA Fall Preview, which is also serving as this year's Landfall Tradition, begins Friday, with tee times ranging from 8:30-10:36 a.m. Live scoring for all three rounds will be available at www.golfstat.com.