First Flight: Kansas Heads to Minneapolis for the Minnesota Invitational
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas women’s golf team will look to improve on its sluggish start at the Minnesota Invitational in Minneapolis on September 14-15, where they finished third last year after posting a 905 (+41). They will compete against 11 other teams at the Minikahda Club, which is a 6,119 yard, 72-par course.
“(Minikahda) is similar to LCC (Lawrence Country Club), so that’s good,” said KU head coach Erin O’Neil. “It’s tree-lined so you have to be accurate off the tee, long rough so you have to keep it in play, and fast greens, so you have to be able to putt and chip well.”
The impact youth will have on the team this season cannot be emphasized enough. It will never be more apparent than it will in Minnesota, where freshman Ariadna Fonseca, Laine Evans and Victoria Chandra will compete for KU. They will be accompanied by senior Yupaporn Kawinpakorn and sophomore Pitsinee Winyarat. Kawinpakorn is the only Jayhawk that competed at the Minnesota Invitational last year. She shot 229 (+13) to finish tied for 28th. KU sophomore and Minnesota native MacKenzie Sexe will compete as an individual.
“We weren’t real happy with how we ended up at the Marilynn Smith/Sunflower Invitational so we wanted to change up the lineup and see if we can get different results and give the others some time to work on their games,” O’Neil said of KU’s seventh-place team finish at the Marilynn Smith. “We’ll keep changing things until we find the right combination.”
Kawinpakorn and Evans both secured top-20 finishes in the Marilynn Smith/Sunflower Invitational after shooting 218 (+2) and 226 (+10), respectively. Fonseca tied for 24th with a 230 (+14), Winyarat scored 234 (+18) to tie for 36th and Chandra recorded a 244 (+28) at the Marilynn Smith/Sunflower Invitational. Sexe tied for 50th with a 242 (+26).
Competing alongside Kansas will be Colorado, East Carolina, GRU Augusta, Houston, Illinois, Kent State, Kentucky, host Minnesota, Purdue, TCU and Texas. East Carolina won the event last year with an 879 (+15). TCU also competed against KU in the Marilynn Smith/Sunflower Invitational, placing 2nd after shooting 875 (+11), 47 strokes ahead of the Jayhawks.
The three-round event will tee off with two rounds, 36 holes, on Monday, September 14 and will conclude with the third round on Tuesday, September 15th. Live scoring can be found at golfstat.com.
Winyarat will carry the Folds of Honor golf bag at the Minnesota Invitational. Evans carried the bag at the Marilynn Smith/Sunflower Invitational, where she finished tied for 20th. The golf bag will be auctioned off at the end of the season and all proceeds will benefit the Katzenberger family of Parkville, Missouri.
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