NASHPORT, Ohio — The Kent State women's golf team continued its streak of Mid-American Conference success Sunday as it captured its15th consecutive MAC championship at Longaberger Golf Club in Nashport, Ohio. Sophomore Jennifer Ha (Calgary, Alberta) came away with individual medalist honors after shooting 222 (76-72-74) for the tournament.
"I'm extremely proud of these young ladies," associate head coach Rob Wakeling said. "We finished second-to-last and last in consecutive tournaments just a couple of months ago, and they continued to work hard. It paid off for them this weekend."
Kent State overcame rainy conditions to shoot 20-over, 308 in the final round and win by 28 strokes over Eastern Michigan and Toledo with to an overall team score of 909 (303-298-308). The Flashes had the lowest team score in each round for the first time since 2010 and remain the only program to capture the conference crown since the MAC began sponsoring women's golf for the 1998-99 season.
Ha paced Kent State with a 2-over 74 on Sunday, winning the tournament by three strokes. She finished the tournament with a 6-over, 222 (76-72-74). Ha was also named MAC Golfer of the Year following the final round, becoming just the seventh player in conference history, and first since 2006, to win the award and claim medalist honors at the MAC Championships in the same season.
"It was a thrill to see Jennifer get her first victory, and it happened to be a MAC Championship," Wakeling said. "She's been really working hard on her game and has been committed to making some changes. She really played like a champion today and in this event."
Entering the day tied with Ball State's Jenna Hague for the lead, Ha was played with the 2012 MAC medalist throughout the day as part of the last group. Ha trailed by a stroke after six holes, but a birdie on No. 8 combined with a double bogey and bogey on No. 7 and No. 8, respectively, by Hague gave her breathing room and a three-stroke lead heading into the back nine.
Joining Ha on the MAC All-Tournament Team was freshman Josée Doyon (Saint-Georges-de-Beauce, Quebec). Doyon concluded her first MAC Championships with a 4-over, 76 on Sunday to finish in third place (227).
Junior Erin Hawe (Walton, New Zealand) was just one stroke from earning all-tournament honors for the second consecutive year and shot 231 (73-79-79) to finish sixth. Hawe closed strong, failing to shoot par on just two holes of the back nine.
Sophomore Natalie Goodson (Hudson, Ohio) and senior Jackie Yanch (Barrie, Ontario) also finished in the top 15. Goodson tied for 10th with a 17-over, 233, and Yanch tied for 15th overall with a 21-over 237.
"It was a team performance this week," Wakeling said. "We had some great individual rounds. Erin Hawe had a great first round and I can't say enough about Natalie Goodson and her round yesterday. And Josée has been steady all year. She's one of the more consistent players we have."
Ha was not the only Flashes recognized by the conference for her outstanding play over the course of the regular season. Ha and Doyon were named to the All-MAC First Team, while Hawe was an All-MAC Second-Team selections. Ha's first-team honor was the second of her career, while Hawe was a second-team honoree for the second consecutive year.
Kent State will find out its draw for the 2013 NCAA Regional round Monday, April 29 at 9 p.m. Auburn, Oklahoma, and Stanford will serve as the host institutions for the 24-team regional tournaments.