NASHPORT, Ohio - Forging ahead through a steady rain throughout the day, the 2011 MAC Women's Golf Championship got underway at Longaberger Golf Club on Friday with Kent State staking itself to an early seven-stroke lead after one round over second place Ball State. Paced by the 18-hole leader, Sarah Johnson, Eastern Michigan is eleven strokes back of Kent State and in a tie with Western Michigan for third place while the host Akron Zips are in fifth.
Complete team efforts were key for both Kent State and Ball State as the Golden Flashes and Cardinals were the only two in the field to have four golfers shoot below 80 in the cold, soggy conditions. Martina Gavier and Shamira Marshall led the way for Kent State, firing opening-round 75's to slot themselves in a tie for second place as individuals. Gavier had recovered from three bogeys in her first four holes to stand at one-over until the 16th hole when some short-game difficulties resulted in a double-bogey to drop her back to three-over. Marshall also had three early bogeys, then recorded pars on 12 of the final 13 holes to place high up the leaderboard.
Brittany Kelly shot 76 to keep the Cardinals well within striking distance going into Saturday's second-round while Ohio's Megan Weaver managed the only birdie all day on the 18th hole to close with a 76 as well but it was Sarah Johnson who was the story of the day. The Eastern Michigan sophomore was over par at only one point in the first round after bogeying the 8th hole but promptly birdied the par-3 9th to move back to even. Birdies on the dog-leg 11th and par-3 14th sandwiched a bogey on 13 to move her under par for the tournament until a bogey on the 17th moved her back to level with an opening-round 72.
Saturday's second round is set to begin with tee times at 7:40 a.m. Live results will be available through the Women's Golf Championship Central page.
1. Kent State 305 (+17)
2. Ball State 312 (+24)
t-3. Western Michigan 316 (+28)
t-3. Eastern Michigan 316 (+28)
5. Akron 319 (+31)
6. Toledo 321 (+33)
7. Ohio 325 (+37)
8. Northern Illinois 337 (+49)
9. Bowling Green 341 (+53)
Top Five Individuals
1. Sarah Johnson, Eastern Michigan 72 (E)
t-2. Martina Gavier, Kent State 75 (+3)
t-2. Shamira Marshall, Kent State 75 (+3)
t-4. Brittany Kelly, Ball State 76 (+4)
t-4. Megan Weaver, Ohio 76 (+4)