Women’s Golf Ready to Defend Back-to-Back Titles at Marilynn Smith Sunflower Invitational

Marilynn Smith Sunflower Invitational
Sept. 8-9 * Alvamar Golf Club (Championship) * Lawrence, Kan. * Par 72 * 6,158-yards
Senior Michelle Woods
Round 1 Results
Marilynn Smith Sunflower Intercollegiate
Team Score
Arkansas State
Central Arkansas
Florida Gulf Coast
Kansas State
Oral Roberts
Redlands CC
Texas Tech
Individual Leaderboard
Place Name Team Score
Kansas Leaderboard
Place Name Score

Round 1 Results

LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas women’s golf team is ready to defend its back-to-back titles at the 18th Marilynn Smith Sunflower Invitational, Sept. 8-9, Alvamar Golf Club (Championship course) in Lawrence.
Since 2003, the Marilynn Smith Sunflower Invitational is hosted every year by either Kansas or Kansas State, alternating annually. The Jayhawks won last year’s event by 16 strokes, with a team score of 910 (+46), at Colbert Hills Golf Club in Manhattan, with then-seniors Meghan Potee and Thanuttura Boonraksasat finishing 1-2. In 2012, KU shot a score of 906 (+42) to win by a total of 21 strokes at Alvamar.
“It’s a great opportunity to show off our facilities and it’s nice to actually be able to sleep in our own beds,” KU 11th-year head coach Erin O’Neil said. “We also feel very comfortable with our home golf course. I also know it is special for our seniors to play at our home course for their last year here.”
O’Neil is also excited for the talent she has upcoming this year.
“Across the board, this is probably the best scorers we have ever had.” O’Neil said of KU’s team qualifying for the Marilynn Smith Sunflower Invitational. “It’s only one or two shots separating most of them. That’s good but it also makes it tough to figure out the line-up.”

KU regular returnees from last season’s team which advanced to the NCAA Championship include junior Yupaporn Kawinpakorn, an All-Big 12 performer who set the KU single-season record with a 74.46 stroke average in 2013-14, senior Minami Levonowich, who was third on the team with a 76.31 average, and sophomore Pornvipa Sakdee, who averaged 76.54.
Michelle Woods, one of KU’s three seniors along with Levonowich and Gabriella DiMarco, is considered the vocal leader of the team and is looking to start out the 2014-15 season strong. The Manhattan, Kansas, native averaged 78.47 strokes per round in 2013-14.
“I want to improve my overall stroke average.” Woods said. “I want to lower it three shots from last year. It can be my personal contribution to the team because obviously we went to nationals last year, which was great, but we still have expectations to do better than that.”
Marilynn Smith, 85, was one of the original 13 founders of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) in 1950 and is still active in the promotion of women’s golf. Smith, who lives in Texas, won 22 times on the LPGA tour, including the 1963 Titleholders, one of the major women’s events at the time, in an 18-hole playoff over Mickey Wright. Before creating the LPGA tour, Smith won the Kansas Women’s Amateur Championship three times (1946-47-48). She arrived on the Kansas golf scene from Wichita. Her two-year career at Kansas was highlighted by a 1949 National Collegiate Individual title. Following the title, Smith accepted an offer from Spaulding to turn pro at $5,000 a year. From 1954-72, she won at least one tour event in 14 of 19 years.
Being a Kansas native, Woods is excited to play in this Kansas-based event in her final year.
“I love that Marilynn Smith has done so much for women’s golf at KU and it is really nice to be a Kansas girl,” Woods said. “My family is able to come watch me. For most tournaments we have to fly and we can’t have everybody there, so it’s really nice to have it in town.”
The tournament will begin Monday, Sept. 8, with 36 holes and concluding with 18 holes on Sept. 9. Both days will begin at 8:30 a.m. with shotgun starts. For the Marilynn Smith Sunflower Invitational, Alvamar’s Championship course will measure 6,158-yards with a par 72. Kansas will field two of the 11 teams in the event with the other schools consisting of Arkansas State, Central Arkansas, Florida Gulf Coast, Kansas State, Oral Roberts, Redlands Community College, Texas Tech, UALR and UMKC.
Marilynn Smith Sunflower Invitational Results
Year – Course – Team Winner – Individual Medalist
1994 – Prairie Dunes Country Club (Hutchinson) – Oklahoma State – Stacy Kolb, Texas Tech
1995 – Crestview Country Club (Wichita) – SMU – Jennifer Hubbard, SMU
1996 – Alvamar Golf Club (Lawrence) – Texas A&M – Rachelle Tacha, Nebraska
1997 – Terradyne Country Club (Andover) – Kansas – Jamie Tucker, Kansas
1998 – no event
1999 – no event
2000 – no event
2001 – Alvamar Golf Club (Lawrence) – Oklahoma – Julie Hary, Northern Iowa
2002 – Willowbend Golf Club (Wichita) – Kansas State – Randi Gauthier, North Texas
2003 – Colbert Hills Golf Club (Manhattan) – Kansas State – Samantha Richdale, Illinois State
2004 – Alvamar Golf Club (Lawrence) – Kansas – Liz Bennett, Iowa
2005 – Colbert Hills Golf Club (Manhattan) – TCU – Helene Robert, Kansas State
2006 – Alvamar Golf Club (Lawrence) – Kansas – Anita Ojeda, UALR
2007 – Colbert Hills Golf Club (Manhattan) – Kansas – Julia Potter, Missouri
2008 – Alvamar Golf Club (Lawrence) – Oral Roberts – Jennifer Clark, Kansas
2009 – Colbert Hills Golf Club (Manhattan) – Tulsa – Kelli Shean, Arkansas
2010 – Alvamar Golf Club (Lawrence) – Kansas – Grace Thiry, Kansas
2011 – Colbert Hills Golf Club (Manhattan) – UALR – Malin Lundberg, UALR
2012 – Alvamar Golf Club (Lawrence) – Kansas – Abigail Laker, Arkansas State
2013 – Colbert Hills Golf Club (Manhattan) – Kansas – Meghan Potee, Kansas
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