Abi Laker wins medalist honors at Sunflower Invitational

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AStateRedWolves.com) – Arkansas State freshman Abi Laker claimed medalist honors at the Marilynn Smith Sunflower Invitational on Tuesday, leading the women's golf team to a runner-up finish at the two-day tournament.

A-State collected its second runner-up finish this year, also claiming second place at the Drake Creek Invitational in its season opener.  The Red Wolves finished ahead of 11 other teams, including the Big 12's Kansas State and Sun Belt Conference foes Middle Tennessee and UALR.

Laker, who finished tied for 17th in her only other collegiate tournament, held a three-stroke advantage heading into today's final round before separating herself from the 73-player field with a final-round 70.  Laker finished with a combined 3-under par 213, eight strokes better than the runner-up.  Laker's three-round score included a tournament-best 69 for the second 18 holes, which followed her opening-round 74.

"Abi played really well and was able to minimize her mistakes to put together three good rounds of very consistent golf," said ASU head coach M.J. Desbiens Shaw.  "To do that in just her second collegiate tournament I think shows a lot of maturity and is something any coach would be excited to see in a freshman."

Due in part to Laker's career-low score, the Red Wolves' second-round 302 was their best score of the tournament.  They shot an opening-round 315 and ended the tournament with a 310, giving them a combined 927 that was one stroke better than Kansas State's final score.  Host-school Kansas won the tournament with a 906.

"Even though our score was a little higher today, I was very pleased with our team performance overall," said Desbiens Shaw.  "I was pleased with our team effort, and having Abi shoot record scores obviously made an impact as well."

Joining Laker among the top-25 individual finishers for ASU was Courtney Manning, who recorded a combined 234 (79-78-77) to end the tournament tied for 11th place.

Also competing for the Red Wolves, Jennifer Loiacano finished tied for 31st place with a 239 (80-75-84--239), Anna Carling tied for 35th with a 241 (82-80-79), Endsley Evans tied for 52nd with a 246 (79-80-87) and Anna Flanrey 72nd with a 271 (93-86-92).

The Red Wolves return to action Sept. 30 - Oct. 2 at the ORU Shootout in Tulsa, Okla.

Place, Name (RD 1-RD 2--Total)
2, Arkansas State (315-302-310--927)
1, Abi Laker (74-69-70--213)
T11, Courtney Manning (79-78-77--234)
T31, Jennifer Loiacano (80-75-84--239)
T35, Anna Carling (82-80-79--241)
*T52, Endsley Evans (79-80-87--246)
72, Anna Flanrey (93-86-92--271)