ASU women's golf finishes 4th at Sunflower Invitational

MANHATTAN, Kan. ( – The Arkansas State women's golf team shot a final-round 314 Tuesday at the Marilynn Smith/Sunflower Invitational, completing its 2013-14 season-opening tournament at the Colbert Hills Golf Course in fourth place among 15 teams with a combined 944.

The Red Wolves were led by three players finishing among the top-20 individuals, including senior Courtney Manning, sophomore Abi Laker and junior newcomer Megan Garland.  Manning collected her fifth career top-10 finish, placing tied for sixth place with a three-round 231.

A-State ended the two-day tournament just three strokes behind third-place Tulsa, while Kansas claimed the championship with a 910 and Kansas State finished runner-up with a 926.  The Red Wolves finished ahead of Oral Roberts, Nebraska, Colorado State, New Mexico State, North Texas, Northern Iowa, UMKC, Redlands Community College, Wichita State, Southern Illinois and Creighton.

Arkansas State got off to a slow start, completing Monday's first round with a 324 that put it in eighth place.  However, the Red Wolves responded with a 306, their best score of the tournament, the same day to climb to fourth place.  Their 926 total was their best three-round score since shooting an 888 at the Lady Red Wolf Classic last season, a span of five tournaments.

"We kept our composure through 54 holes, facing tough conditions yesterday and managing to score well today," said A-State head coach M.J. Desbiens Shaw.  "I'm proud of our fourth-place finish against one of the toughest fields we will play this season.  Courtney showed a lot of leadership as a senior, and finishing (tied for) sixth was such a great accomplishment, but this was a real team effort from all five of our players."

Manning was consistent throughout all three rounds, posting scores of 77, 76 and 78, respectively.  Her 231 total left her just one stroke behind three players tied for third place, while Kansas' Meghan Potee won the individual title with a 224.

Laker, who claimed medalist honors at the Marilynn Smith/Sunflower Invitational a year ago, shot a 235 to tie for 12th place and pick up her seventh career top-20 finish.  Laker bounced back from her opening-round 86 with a 71 for the second 18 holes, the lowest single-round total by an A-State player, and carded a 78 on Tuesday.

Garland ended her first tournament at A-State tied for 17th place, recording a 237 that included rounds of 77, 82 and 78.  Junior Marie Couffignal narrowly missed a top-25 finish as well, posting a 241 (84-77-80) to tie for 26th place.  Also competing for the Red Wolves, freshman Maci Arrington tied for 56th place with a 252 (89-82-81).

Arkansas State returns to action Sept. 30-Oct. 1 at the ORU Shootout in Tulsa, Okla.


Place, Name (RD 1-RD 2-RD 3--TOTAL)

4, Arkansas State (324-306-314--944)

T6, Courtney Manning (77-76-78--231)

T12, Abi Laker (86-71-78--235)

T17, Megan Garland (77-82-78--237)

T26, Marie Couffignal (84-77-80--241)

T56, Maci Arrington (89-82-81--252)