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MSU women’s golf places third at Regionals and advances to NCAA Championships – Impact 89FM
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MSU women’s golf places third at Regionals and advances to NCAA Championships – Impact 89FM

EAST LANSING- After a team score of 285 in the third round on Wednesday, May 8, the Michigan State women’s golf team placed third at the NCAA East Lansing Regional, earning a spot in the NCAA Championships.

The Spartans would shoot a total of 860 (-4) through 54 holes of golf, placing themselves in the top three behind Oklahoma State and Southern California.

MSU’s team score of 860 was 12 shots better than the previous low 54-hole score in an NCAA Regional (872 at both the 2023 Palm Beach Regional and the 2017 Athens Regional).

Senior Leila Raines would lead MSU in the third round with a 69 (-3), with a tournament score of 210 (-6) through three rounds, with 73 (+1) on Monday and 68 on (-4) Tuesday.

“It feels great – this is what we’ve been working for all season,” Raines said in a statement after her Wednesday round. “The prospect of being home and being able to just do it the way we wanted is really worth it.

Raines took 4th place individually and set a 54-hole record for a Spartan in an NCAA Regional. This will also be the fourth straight appearance in the NCAA Championships for Raines, who has competed with the team a total of three times (2021, 2023 and 2024) and qualified as an individual in 2022.

“Being able to finish my senior year here and now, with a ticket to the national champions, you can’t ask for much more,” Raines said in her statement Wednesday.

Junior Katie Lu, a first-team All-Big Ten selection, would be the next Spartan to finish in the top 20, with a tournament score of 216 (E). Lu finished her tournament with a 71 (-1), recovering after a Tuesday round of 73 (+1) and a Monday score of 72 (E).

Junior Shannon Kennedy shot an even-par 72 in a round with a team-best six birdies, while sophomore Paula Balanzategui shot a 1-over 73 to round out MSU’s team scores in the third round. Balanzategui finished in 20th place overall with 3-over 219 (74-72-73). Junior Brooke Biermann also finished in 20th place with a three-day total of 219 (72-71-76).

As for MSU head coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll, this will be her 14th appearance at the NCAA Championships as the Spartans will achieve their 16th program finish all-time.

“The feeling of wanting to be there never dies and it never ends,” Slobodnik-Stoll said of coaching at the NCAA Championships.

“You’re going to take the players that represent Michigan State and everything they’ve done and everything they’ve worked for to the national championship, which is the pinnacle of their career. And those will be memories they will remember for the rest of their lives.”

The 2024 NCAA Women’s Golf Championships will take place May 17-22 at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, California. MSU will make its third appearance in the last four seasons.