MANHATTAN, Kan. - The spring season opens for the Kansas State women’s golf team in Parrish, Fla., at the Central District Invitational. The tournament tees off on Monday, Feb. 20, with the first two rounds of play. The final round is set for the following day. A first-time lineup of two juniors, two sophomores and one freshman will face off against 13 central region competitors. Kansas State ended the fall ranked 20th in the region and 67th in the nation.
THE FIELD: The 14-team field consists of six Big 12 schools, including Baylor, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Texas Tech. Ohio State comes in as the top-rated team of the tourney, ranking fourth in the region and 19th in the country. Host Michigan State follows after finishing the fall ranked 21st in the nation. Illinois State, LSU, Michigan, Northwestern, Notre Dame and SMU round out the remaining schools.
PLAYING HOST River Wilderness Golf Club: Located in Parrish, Fla., the par-72 course will play to 6,099 yards for the Central District Invitational. The Tampa Bay-area golf and country club is a private, 18-hole championship course designed by Ted McAnlis. The course was rated as one of Florida’s Top 50 courses by Florida Golfer Magazine. For more information on River Wilderness, please visit its website at riverwilderness.com.
LAST TIME OUT: K-State concluded the fall at the Edwin Watts/Palmetto Collegiate in Kiawah Island, S.C. Finishing seventh of 19, the team started off slow but finished strong in the final two rounds, carding 316-308-307931. Individual scores improved after the first round as well, as two Wildcats finished in the top 20. Katy Heffel led the team and earned her first top-20 finish of the year, placing 13th after shooting scores of 75-77-77229. Kali Quick tied for 20th after rounds of 78-75-77230.
CENTRAL DISTRICT HISTORY: For the fourth consecutive year, the Wildcats open their spring at the Central District Invitational. In spring 2003, Kansas State finished third in the field of 15, shooting 306-312-305923. Top-finisher Miranda Smith cracked the top-10 after placing ninth. In 2004, the Wildcats once again finished third of 15, with Karen Quintelier leading the Wildcats tying for 10th. Last spring, K-State finished 14th out of 15. Then-freshman Kali Quick paced the team and tied for 26th.
FALL WRAP-UP: With hot-and-cold results, the Wildcats finished the fall with improvements from the previous season. In the second and third tournaments of the year, the team notched two top-three finishes. In those same tournaments, the team had three individual top-10 finishers. Both feats surpass that of fall 2004. One achievement that has not occurred since spring 2004 was having an individual champion. Junior Helene Robert finished first at the Marilynn Smith/Sunflower Invitational hosted by Kansas State. The team combined for 11 top-20 finishes, with each member contributing to the total with the exception of redshirt freshman Krista Nelson.
NEW-LOOK WILDCATS: When K-State hits the course for the Central District Invitational, the team will be using a different rotation for the first time this season. Freshman Krista Nelson, listed as a redshirt last fall, will play her first collegiate tournament. The Olathe native was selected for multiple first team honors during high school and medaled in each of her 10 events participated in as a senior. Nelson will replace injured sophomore Michelle Regan.
K-State’s Central District Invitational Lineup
Name Yr. Hometown Rnds Avg.
Katy Heffel Jr. Mesa, Ariz. 15 79.93
Hailey Mireles So. Garden City, Kan. 15 78.60
Kali Quick So. Nampa, Idaho 15 77.00
Helene Robert Jr. Lac Brome, Quebec 15 76.20
Krista Nelson Fr. Overland Park, Kan. -- --