The MSU women’s golf team has been one of the university’s most successful programs the past two decades. Head coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll is at the helm for her 19th season, having led the program to 10 NCAA Championship appearances.ch
Slobodnik-Stoll has also won three Big Ten Coach of the Year awards in 2001, 2007 and 2012.
Continuing the program’s success is redshirt-sophomore Katie Sharp, who won Big Ten Women’s Golfer of the Week on April 6. She won the award following her win at the Clemson Invitational, which was held April 1-3.
Sharp tied for the second-lowest 54-hole score in program history. There, she shot a career-low eight-under-par, a 68-70-70 performance, helping the Spartans to a third-place finish.
Sharp averaged a 77.14 score as a freshman. Now, she’s cut down 2.51 strokes to a 74.63 scoring average, which places her second on the team as of April 4.
“I just continued working on making my swing better and improving my stroke game,” Sharp said. “I’ve just stuck to my process and it’s coming around now, which is good.”
Slobodnik-Stoll said she was more than happy to see her sophomore perform the way she did.
“Katie is just an incredible person and a wonderful player,” Slobodnik-Stoll said. “She works very hard every day at no matter what she does. Seeing her perform at that level was just wonderful.”
Along with Sharp, there’s another standout sophomore on the team who has won the Big Ten Women’s Golfer of the Week earlier this season. Sophomore Sarah Burnham won two of the weekly awards, one on Oct. 28 and the other Feb. 24.
“I definitely admire Sarah and how she plays the game of golf,” Sharp said. “I wasn’t planning on winning and I wasn’t planning on being Big Ten Golfer of the week. But it’s just something that happened, and I’m very appreciative of everybody that supported me so far.”
Burnham said seeing another teammate win the award is a welcoming sight. She said qualifying for NCAA regionals and the NCAA Championships are goals the team has.
“Just being able to know that we have the chance of going to nationals this year is huge, compared to last year when we didn’t even make regionals,” Burnham said.
Slobodnik-Stoll has the luxury of having two talented sophomores in Sharp and Burnham. For the future of the team, it’s a good sign having two golfers like them and she said she is well aware of that.
“As long as we continue to recruit players like Katie and Sarah and everyone that’s on the team,” Slobodnik-Stoll said. “They exemplify what a true Spartan is and what we want out of this program.”
The women’s golf Big Ten Championships begin April 22.
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